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Asia: Stocks climb as tech rises; US dollar steadies

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[SYDNEY] Asian stocks rose alongside Nasdaq futures as positive earnings from technology heavyweights buoyed sentiment toward the sector that has been fragile of late. The US dollar steadied close to its highest in three months, while Treasuries pared losses.

South Korean shares led gains across the region after earnings at Samsung Electronics Co topped estimates on booming exports of memory chips. Better-than-expected sales at Facebook Inc lifted its shares in after-hours trading and gave a boost to US stock futures.

The euro edged higher ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank rate decision. The 10-year US Treasury yield dipped to 3.02 per cent.

Investors are weighing the ability of global equities, which already trade at elevated valuations, to cope with higher interest rates as the earnings season ramps up.

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Signs of optimism from Facebook and Samsung, the latest in what's been a good reporting period so far, are offsetting pockets of concern around technology and industrial companies that have weighed on stocks this month.

Elsewhere, crude oil pushed higher above US$68 a barrel as French President Emmanuel Macron predicted US President Donald Trump will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

A US withdrawal, which isn't backed by any of the other five countries that are part of the agreement, would lead to a period of increased tensions and uncertainty, Mr Macron said.

SOME IMPORTANT EVENTS COMING UP THIS WEEK:

US GDP data are due Friday.

Earnings season continues, with Amazon.com among those due to report.

The European Central Bank has a rate decision on Thursday. Investors will watch for any sign that officials are preparing a shift in stimulus plans for their June meeting.

The Bank of Japan announces its latest policy decision Friday and releases a quarterly outlook report.

The leaders of North and South Korea meet Friday.

STOCKS

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.3 per cent as of 10.20am in Tokyo.

Japan's Topix index gained 0.2 per cent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.3 per cent after the cash market shut 0.2 per cent higher on Wednesday. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.8 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 per cent and Taiwan's Taiex added 0.6 per cent.

Kospi index climbs one per cent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.2 per cent.

CURRENCIES

The Bloomberg dollar spot Index held on to Wednesday's gains when the gauge rose 0.4 per cent to the highest in almost 15 weeks.

The euro rose 0.1 per cent to US$1.2172, paring some of the 0.5 per cent decline Wednesday when it hit the weakest in almost four months.

The British pound traded flat at US$1.3939.

The yen was at 109.44 per US dollar.

BONDS

The yield on 10-year Treasuries slid one basis point to 3.02 per cent.

Australia's 10-year yield rose three basis points to about 2.87 per cent, as markets reopened after the Anzac Day holiday.

COMMODITIES

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.5 per cent to US$68.37 a barrel.

Gold was steady at US$1,323.17 an ounce. 

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