A man stands next to an electronic board showing stock prices in Tokyo, Japan, August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Asian stocks consolidated a recent run of gains on Wednesday, helped by Wall Street's rise overnight, even as oil prices slid on trade data showing a surprise build-up in U.S. crude stocks. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS eased 0.1 percent in early trades. It has risen more than 14 percent since late June to hit a 1-year high last week. Futures prices showed Australian shares were poised to edge higher on Wednesday while New Zealand stocks .NZ50 slipped after a recent rally. U.S. housing-related stocks jumped 2 percent .HGX after the Commerce Department reported new U.S. single-family home sales soared unexpectedly in July to near nine-year highs.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 17.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,547.3, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.26 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,186.9 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 15.48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,260.08. The upbeat housing data prompted markets to extend their search for further clues to whether the Federal Reserve will raise U.S. interest rates this year. Global central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week with investors focused on a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday. The spike in new U.S. home sales pushed the dollar to 94.6 against a trade-weighted basket of currencies =USD after a drop of more than 2 percent so far this month.
The Australian dollar AUD=D3 looked set to add to recent gains as Australia's relatively higher interest rates attracted overseas investors. Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday, reversing early gains, after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported U.S. crude on Tuesday that inventories rose by a surprising 4.5 million barrels last week. Brent crude LCOc1 fell 0.6 percent to $49.65 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 slipped 0.85 percent to $47.68 in early deals.
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Eric Meijer)
This article was first seen on Reuters