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Asia stocks edge higher at open, treasuries slip
[SYDNEY] Asian stocks eked out modest gains at the open after a mixed US session ahead of midterm elections. US Treasury yields ticked higher and the US dollar was steady.
Equities climbed in Japan, Australia and South Korea, while Hong Kong and China futures also tipped gains. Earlier, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. underpinned an advance in the S&P 500 Index after the billionaire stock-picker revealed he'd been buying back his firm's own shares. Apple Inc. suppliers may come under pressure on a report the iPhone maker wouldn't boost some production - the stock slumped and Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. also sank, weighing on the Nasdaq indexes.
Politics loom large for traders as US congressional elections, seen as a referendum on the policies of US president Donald Trump, take place Tuesday. Democrats are expected to take control of the House of Representatives but fall short in the Senate. Investors generally like gridlock in a split decision because it means Democrats won't be able to roll back tax cuts or reinstate key parts of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
Elsewhere, oil extended its decline to a seventh day as the US defended the temporary waivers given to eight nations to keep buying Iranian crude after American sanctions against the OPEC producer snap back on Monday. The pound strengthened a third day in four on signs of further progress in Brexit negotiations. Markets in Singapore and Malaysia are closed for a holiday.