The world’s shares have hit a record high, with relief over de-escalation of US-Iranian tensions quickly prompting investors to bet on faster global growth, especially in the technology sector.
MSCI’s broadest gauge of the world’s stocks in 49 countries rose a tad to hit an all-time high on Friday and its index on Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.18 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.43 per cent while Australian stocks rallied 0.6 per cent to a record high.
That followed record-setting in the pan-regional STOXX 600 index in Europe and the three major stock indexes on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 gained 0.67 pr cent, with its technology sector rising more than 1 per cent.
Apple gained 2.1 per cent, helped by news that the sales of its iPhones in China in December jumped more than 18 per cent year on year.
Investors welcomed the report as a prelude to the upcoming visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He, head of the country’s negotiation team in Sino-US trade talks next week.
Liu will visit Washington on January 13-15 and President Donald Trump says the so-called phase one deal will be signed on January 15.
“We will have a symbolic event of Sino-US dialogue,” said Norihiro Fujito at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo.
“Given the current strength of the market, it is hard not to expect this rally to continue for the time being.”
Global shares quickly erased losses that followed missile attacks from Iran targeting US forces in Iraq, as the two countries moved to defuse the tension.
Waning worries about all-out war in the Middle East pushed down gold, safe-harbour currencies and oil.
Gold eased off to $US1,552.80 per ounce from a seven-year high of $US1,610.90 hit right after Iran’s missile attack on Wednesday.
Against the yen, the US dollar traded at 109.52 yen , having hit a two-week high of 109.58 in US trade on Thursday.
The euro stood little changed at $1.1105, having fallen to $1.10915 , its lowest in about two weeks.
Oil prices were sharply lower from their highs hit in the wake of Iran’s missile attack.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell to as low as $US58.66 per barrel on Thursday and last stood at $US59.51, down slightly on the day, compared to Wednesday’s peak of $US65.65.