Asia stocks set to end year at record high
Asian stocks headed for a record close on the final trading day of 2017, capping the best year since the post-global financial crisis rebound of 2009. Commodities also looked to go out on a high, but not so the dollar.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is sitting on an annual gain of almost 29 percent, backed by the region's worldbeating growth and a go-slow approach by major central banks in withdrawing record monetary stimulus. Japanese stock benchmarks dipped at the close, though held near their highest levels since the early 1990s. Hong Kong shares edged higher, while Australia's fell. U.S. equity futures were little changed.
The dollar headed for its biggest weekly drop since the end of November as traders put the passage of the U.S. tax-cut package in the rear-view mirror. The euro traded around its highest since late November, and the yen extended gains. Oil traded above $60 a barrel, and the Bloomberg Commodity Index hit its highest since early last month. Bitcoin steadied above $14,000, appearing to form a bottom after the sell-off from last week's record.
A smattering of inflation readings from Europe, including several German states, a nationwide gauge for Germany and one for Spain.Russia reports on revised GDP and on consumer prices. China releases its official version of the December manufacturing PMI on Dec. 31.
Japan's Topix Index fell 0.1 percent as of the close in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average also dropped 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.2 percent at 2:08 p.m. local time. The Shanghai Composite was 0.2 percent higher. Seoul's exchange was closed Friday. Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after the underlying
gauge rose 0.2 percent Thursday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average had a record close.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed early Friday, heading for a weekly slide of 0.8 percent. The Japanese yen was at 112.71, up 0.1 percent on the day. The euro traded at $1.1953
The British pound was at $1.3464. Australia's dollar bought 78.07 U.S. cents, trading around its highest since late October. The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.43 percent Friday, about 5 basis points lower than last week's close. Australian 10-year government bond yields fell to 2.63 percent, down about 8 basis points on the week.