Asian stocks rise after gains in Europe

Hong Kong (AFP) –


Asian markets pushed higher Tuesday, following up on a positive performance by European shares overnight as investors breathed a sigh of relief over populists' failure to take over the European parliament after weekend elections.

Although voters shifted allegiances in the EU elections on Sunday, the above-average turnout did not translate to a populist surge, as mainstream parties managed to keep control of the parliament.

The gains in Europe prompted a solid open for Tokyo, with US President Donald Trump taking a softer approach in Washington's trade dispute with Japan as he wraps up his visit to the Asian ally.

"Today's Tokyo market is expected to remain well supported," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

"His visit to Japan is seen as boosting Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe's support, which is positive for the market."

Markets also enjoyed a boost on the back of a Bloomberg News report that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba was looking to raise $20 billion through a second listing in Hong Kong later this year after its record-breaking debut in New York in 2014.

The report, which comes as a trade row between Washington and Beijing escalates -- with no date set for tariff negotiations to resume -- could be a harbinger of a new chapter for Chinese business.

"Exciting news for Hong Kong and perhaps a sign of things to come as Chinese companies look locally to raise funds instead of an unwelcoming and suspicious US," said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Tokyo rose 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong edged up 0.3 percent, and Shanghai gained 0.6 percent. Seoul also inched up 0.1 percent but Singapore lost 0.4 percent.

Trading in oil saw modest rises after prices plunged last week following a surprise increase in US crude and gasoline inventories.

Analysts said prices would likely extend a comeback despite jitters over the US-China trade war discouraging future demand.

"With the summer driving season beginning in the US, demand is expected to pick up and with Hurricane season expected to be near-normal, oil prices should see some support shortly," said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

- Key figures around 0245 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 21,272.46 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 27,377.76

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 2,910.40

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2672 from $1.2674 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.25 pence from 88.31 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1183 from $1.1191

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.44 yen from 109.53 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 3 cents at $70.08 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 53 cents at $59.16 per barrel

New York - Dow: Closed for holiday

London - FTSE 100: Closed for holiday