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Asian stocks take positive start as US hits record

Asian stocks take positive start as US hits record

TOKYO: The U.S. dollar hovered close to an 11-year high against a basket of currencies while Asian shares firmed in early trade on Tuesday, with sentiment bolstered by another record day on Wall Street.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was nearly flat, while Japan’s Nikkei stock average was up about 0.4 percent after the yen pushed to three-week lows against the greenback.

On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both posted fresh record closing highs, while the Nasdaq Composite broke 5,000 for the first time in 15 years.

The dollar index climbed as far as 95.514 on Monday, surpassing Jan. 23’s high of 95.481 to a peak not scaled since September 2003.

The index rose as the euro slid back below $1.1200. The common currency last stood at $1.1177, down about 0.1 percent, while the dollar edged up about 0.1 percent against the yen on the day to 120.19  after touching a fresh three-week high of 120.27.

The dollar’s gains came in spite of a batch of downbeat U.S. data, including another fall in U.S. consumer spending and slower factory activity.

“The market’s relentless appetite for U.S. dollars is impressive considering that the latest economic reports hardens our view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September and not in June,” Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management, said in a note to clients.