Asian stocks rally to three-week highs on hopes U.S. avoids default

By Ian Chua

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stocks jumped to three-week highs on Friday as investors took a chance and cheered perceived progress in Washington to avert a possible debt default, even though questions remained over whether a deal could be struck in the next week.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.2 percent, reaching highs not seen since September 19. Tokyo's Nikkei climbed 1.2 percent.

The region's emerging markets also rose, with Chinese and Indian shares both up around 1.0 percent. MSCI's broad emerging benchmark equity index put on 0.7 percent.

Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open up by 41-43 points, a rise of 0.7 percent. Germany's DAX was seen opening 53-60 points higher, also a 0.7 percent gain.

The rally in Asia came after U.S. stocks jumped more than 2 percent in their biggest one-day gain since January 2 as investors became more confident that squabbling U.S. politicians would at the very least avert a possible U.S. debt default next week.

"The situation is fluid but it seems like progress is being made on averting the worst-case scenario. But a short-term solution should be met with short-term enthusiasm," analysts at Nomura wrote in a client note.

Republican lawmakers, who have not passed budget funding, on Thursday offered a plan that would extend the U.S. government's borrowing authority for several weeks, staving off a default that could otherwise come as soon as October 17.

While no deal emerged from a meeting at the White House, the two sides appeared ready to end a political crisis that has shuttered much of the U.S. government and pushed the country close to default.

"We are watching this very closely like everyone else. Some people have been going into cash. I wish we were all focusing on matters of economics and earnings, but we are unfortunately trading on this soap opera," said Michael Cuggino, president and portfolio manager at Permanent Portfolio Funds.

YEN EASES

In currency markets, the 'risk-on' mood is clearly reflected in the yen, which sagged across the board, particularly against higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar.

The Aussie climbed 0.5 percent to a three-week high of 93.44 yen. For some traders, the Aussie/yen cross is seen as a risk barometer.

The dollar and euro rose to respective 1-1/2 week highs of 98.56 yen 133.45.

The euro was steady at $1.3535, holding the dollar index, which tracks the greenback's performance against a basket of major currencies, under a two-week high set overnight.

Gold nursed losses, struggling to pull away from a one-week low of $1,282.36 an ounce.

Copper put on 0.1 percent to $7,153.00 a tonne, adding to Thursday's 0.6 percent rise, while U.S. crude eased 0.3 percent to $102.70 a barrel, following a 1.4 percent rally.

Traders warned the U.S. fiscal crisis remained fluid and any setback in resolving it could see markets quickly turn tail.

"In the interim, fourth-quarter GDP will surely feel the adverse effects from the slowdown in economic activity and the lack of transparency with respect to economic data releases," said Bonnie Baha, senior portfolio manager at DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles.

"As a result, under the current set of circumstances, the prospect of a QE tapering is almost certainly off the table for 2013," she added, referring to the Federal Reserve's bond-buying stimulus programme known as Quantitative Easing.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan in New York; Editing by John Mair)

  • Business
    The Drive

    Multimillionaire Gym Mogul Crashes Lamborghini Murciélago, Kills Uber Driver

    J. Gerald Smith, an 82-year old Uber driver, died this week after a yellow Lamborghini Murciélago struck his Buick Enclave, which was sitting at a stop sign. Roger Wittenberns, the 60-year old multimillionaire health club mogul, was behind the wheel of the Murciélago at the time of the wreck. Mr. Smith was a retired real estate agent.

  • T-Mobile outage? Customers wouldn't know the difference, says Verizon
    Technology
    CNET

    T-Mobile outage? Customers wouldn't know the difference, says Verizon

    Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives. When Samsung had a spot of bother with exploding phones, I don't remember Apple offering: "That's karma for copying." In the cell phone service provider world, however, things are a little more, well, Trumpian. Invective is tossed like monkeys throw, um, mud. So when reports emerged on Thursday that T-Mobile's wireless LTE data had gone down nationwide, Verizon offered pithy sympathy. Verizon's vice-president of communications, Jeffrey Nelson, emitted this on Twitter: "Nationwide outage: most@TMobile customers wouldn't know the difference given usual terrible performance." T-Mobile didn't immediately

  • Discount supermarkets are taking over the US
    Business
    Business Insider

    Discount supermarkets are taking over the US

    America's largest supermarkets are slashing prices amid ongoing food-price deflation and growing pressure from the rapid expansion of discount-grocery chains like Aldi. The price cuts are squeezing profits and dragging down company shares. Kroger, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Dollar General have seen their stock prices drop a collective 13% in the last three months.

  • How to check if your Yahoo account has been hacked and what to do next
    Business
    International Business Times UK

    How to check if your Yahoo account has been hacked and what to do next

    In what is believed to be one of the biggest data breaches of all time, Yahoo has confirmed that at least half a billion user accounts were hacked in 2014 by a so-called "state-sponsored" actor. If you have used Yahoo in the past there's a good chance your credentials are now in the hands of hackers – so what should you do next? Yahoo said that names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, security questions and scrambled passwords were all compromised in the cyberattack. The firm, which is currently in the process of being bought by Verizon, said it is now notifying all impacted users. However, there are a number of steps you should quickly take immediately to ensure your details

  • Bank of America has officially crowned one of the most senior women in finance
    BAC
    Business Insider

    Bank of America has officially crowned one of the most senior women in finance

    It's official: Sanaz Zaimi is now the sole head of fixed income, currency, and commodity — FICC — sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Zaimi took that job on an interim basis in March when her cohead, Bryan Weadock, went on leave. On Friday, Tom Montag, chief operating officer at the bank, said Weadock would not be returning.

  • Flight attendants share the 16 most common misconceptions people have about their job
    Business
    Business Insider

    Flight attendants share the 16 most common misconceptions people have about their job

    When it comes a flight attendant's job, perception rarely matches reality. "People think there's glamour associated with this job, and there is to some extent when you're talking about, 'I just got back from Beijing, and I know the best shops in the Pearl Market,' or 'I spent Chinese New Year in Hong Kong,' or 'after spending the day at Ipanema Beach in Rio, we went to a fabulous churrascaria,'" Annette Long, a flight attendant with 13 years of experience, previously told Business Insider. "But the job itself is far from glamorous," she continues.

  • Got a Yahoo email account? Here are 3 things you need to do now
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Got a Yahoo email account? Here are 3 things you need to do now

    Yahoo Inc. said Thursday that account information for at least 500 million users was stolen by hackers during a 2014 breach. While thieves apparently were not able to acquire credit card information, bank account data or unencrypted passwords, Yahoo YHOO, -3.25%   users may have had their names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, security questions and answers, exposed. So if you have a Yahoo email account, what should you do? 1. Change your password. Even though Yahoo says it will notify potentially affected users, change your password anyway to make sure. Do it now. Yahoo is phasing out security questions and encouraging users to sign up

  • Squashed Emirates Airline gold member sues for suffering fat man 'spillover'
    Business
    International Business Times UK

    Squashed Emirates Airline gold member sues for suffering fat man 'spillover'

    An Italian lawyer has sued the Emirates airline after he had to sit next to an "obese man" during a nine-hour flight. Giorgio Destro, from Padua in northern Italy, claimed he "suffered" during the flight from Cape Town to Dubai. The lawyer, who previously worked for the Italian Consulate in South Africa, reportedly asked to change seats, but his request was denied as the flight was fully booked, Il Mattino di Padova newspaper reported. During the flight, Destro took a picture that he is planning to use in court as evidence of his discomfort. The hearing is scheduled to take place in Padua on 20 October. Destro, who is a "gold member" flyer with Emirates, is reportedly asking for €2,759 (£2,375;

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Rite Aid, Walgreens' Merger Could Total 11% Return This Year

    In late 2015, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA) announced it was acquiring competitor Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) for $9.00 share. The deal was expected to be completed in the second half of 2016, but there's still no word on the deal

  • News
    WSJ Live

    Timeline: Trump's Father Gave GOP Nominee Numerous Loans

    Donald Trump likes to tell the story of how he took a $1 million loan from his father, Fred Trump, and turned that into his business empire. But documents reviewed by the WSJ show there were frequent loans in the tens of millions. Photo: Getty

  • Should I Pay Extra on My Student Loans?
    Business
    Credit.com

    Should I Pay Extra on My Student Loans?

    When you start repaying a student loan, it's a bit of a buzzkill to see a large chunk of money come out of your bank account. At least, that's how it works if you enter a standard repayment plan on a fixed-rate student loan, like most borrowers do. It's monotonous but predictable: Keep making that $350 payment on time, and after 10 years (or whatever the repayment term is), you'll be out of student loan debt.

  • Market Update: Oil Crumbles After Saudis Pull The Plug
    Business
    Oilprice.com

    Market Update: Oil Crumbles After Saudis Pull The Plug

    Oil prices fell fast on Friday afternoon after Saudi Arabia claimed that "doesn't expect any decision" next week at OPEC’s unofficial meeting in Algiers. Oil prices jumped in the second half of this week on larger-than-expected drawdowns in U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories. Crude oil inventories are now at their lowest level since the beginning of 2016 and more declines are expected.

  • How to Calculate What You Need for Retirement
    Business
    Investopedia

    How to Calculate What You Need for Retirement

    To retire or not to retire? — That is the question. As you approach the age of 60, this is something you may ask yourself, as many people do. You've been working for much of your life and retiring early may sound especially appealing. You can live the lifestyle you want, avoid stress, and see your grandchildren more often. But if you retire early will you have enough capital to fund your golden years? As the normal retirement age gets closer, many people start wondering if they will have enough money to last through the course of their retirement. But can we accurately calculate such projections? How do you know much money is enough? What will your healthcare needs be, as this is often the biggest

  • Why Starbucks' Loyalty Program
    Business
    The Motley Fool

    Why Starbucks' Loyalty Program

    Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced an update to its loyalty program and mobile app in April that moved from a per-visit reward system to an amount-spent system. Critics took to social media in the weeks after the new program to complain, but most analysts agreed that the long-term impact of the change would be flat to positive. However, when fiscal year Q3 earnings came in with lower-than-expected comparable sales, the loyalty program change was partially blamed. Starbucks' loyalty program change is short-term pain for long-term gain Starbucks' mobile app has long been deemed one of the reasons Starbucks has been so successful in the last decade thanks to improvements like maps to find Starbucks

  • Cramer tries to understand what happened to Ulta Salon
    ULTA
    CNBC

    Cramer tries to understand what happened to Ulta Salon

    Until very recently, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (NASDAQ: ULTA) was one of the hottest stocks out there. It suddenly fell off a cliff for no discernible reason, leaving Jim Cramer confused. The question now becomes whether Ulta is a broken stock or a broken company.

  • Entertainment
    CNBC Videos

    Preparing for President Trump

    William Lee, Citigroup, head of North American Economics, discusses what a Donald Trump presidency would look like and if investors are prepared.

  • Let the Mind Games Begin: Clinton Gives Mark Cuban a Front Row Seat at the Debate
    Entertainment
    The Fiscal Times

    Let the Mind Games Begin: Clinton Gives Mark Cuban a Front Row Seat at the Debate

    It’s widely known that one of the strategies Hillary Clinton is likely to use in her debates against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is to try to goad the notoriously thin-skinned billionaire into anger or overreaction in front of a national television audience. Turns out she may have a little help during the event at Hofstra University Monday night. The campaign has invited Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and, like Trump, a veteran of reality television, to take one of the front row seats at the event.

  • AT&T agrees to pay $450,000 to settle U.S. probe
    T
    Reuters

    AT&T agrees to pay $450,000 to settle U.S. probe

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Friday that AT&T Inc has agreed to pay a $450,000 fine for unauthorized operations of fixed wireless stations and will not engage in repeat behavior, resolving a lengthy government investigation. Over a four-year-period, AT&T operated many point-to-point microwave stations throughout the United States at variance with its licenses, the FCC said in a statement announcing the agreement. Wireless stations are used by phone companies to connect calls and television signals directly between towers in areas that cannot be connected using standard wireline or fiber optic cable because of cost or terrain.

  • Angry Taiwan blames China for UN aviation meet snub
    Politics
    AFP

    Angry Taiwan blames China for UN aviation meet snub

    Taiwan said Friday China had blocked it from attending a major United Nations aviation meeting, the latest setback to its troubled campaign for international recognition. Beijing hit back at the criticism, saying the island had "no right" to be invited. Self-ruling Taiwan is routinely prevented from attending global forums by Beijing, which still sees it as part of its territory requiring reunification.

  • Trim your wireless bill -- skip that phone upgrade
    Technology
    CNET

    Trim your wireless bill -- skip that phone upgrade

    It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Wireless subscribers have been conditioned to get a new phone every two years. That made sense back in the day, when wireless subsidies from mobile operators let you upgrade to the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy for only $200. Those days are over. Today consumers are expected to pay full price for their devices. The carriers have tried to make the hefty $650 price tag of high-end devices more palatable by offering payment plans. But wireless subscribers shouldn't confuse these plans with the old device subsidies. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I explain why, in this new era of wireless, you'll spend considerably more if you continue your device-upgrade-every-two-years

  • World
    Associated Press

    2 miners killed, 1 injured during Polish copper mine cave-in

    Two miners have been killed and another seriously injured during a cave-in at a copper and silver mine in southwestern Poland, a spokeswoman for the partly state-owned KGHM copper mining corporation said Saturday. Jolanta Piatek said the accident happened Friday night at the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine when part of a ceiling collapsed on the working miners.

  • This chart may say all you need to know about the market
    Business
    CNBC

    This chart may say all you need to know about the market

    There is a simple recipe for substantial stock market gains, according to Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. The key condition, Paulsen explains, is for the S&P 500 (INDEX: .SPX)'s earnings growth to be above the 10-year Treasury yield (U.S.: US10Y). When the earnings growth rate has been below the 10-year yield, the S&P has risen just 4.7 percent.

  • Samsung says 90% of Note7 owners don’t want a refund despite fires
    Technology
    Dan Howley

    Samsung says 90% of Note7 owners don’t want a refund despite fires

    Samsung has had, what most would call, a bad month. It started with scattered reports of its new Galaxy Note7 catching fire for seemingly no reason and quickly escalated to a full-blown, worldwide safety recall.

  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump off on how colleges use endowments
    News
    Associated Press

    AP FACT CHECK: Trump off on how colleges use endowments

    Donald Trump says colleges and universities should be using their endowments to make college more affordable but that too many are using "the money to pay their administrators or put donors' names on buildings or just store the money, keep it and invest it." But that's not exactly how endowments work. It's true that at the nation's wealthiest colleges, the amount of endowment money spent on student financial aid often takes up a relatively small share. Meanwhile, Harvard spent more than $1 billion that year on programs and facilities, and earned $4.5 billion in endowment revenue.

  • 8 signs your boss is undermining you
    Business
    Business Insider

    8 signs your boss is undermining you

    Dealing with an undermining boss is a nightmare. Something went wrong and now your boss's superiors want an explanation. Listen, at the end of the day, it is kind of your job to make your boss look good.