Asia stocks set for small gains as U.S. advances fiscal stimulus

Asia stocks set for small gains as U.S. advances fiscal stimulus

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors in Asia geared up for modest stock gains on Friday as U.S. legislators wrangled over a fiscal stimulus and negotiations over a Brexit trade deal continued.

A $908 billion U.S. coronavirus aid plan gained momentum in U.S. Congress on Thursday, buoying U.S. markets.

"The U.S. fiscal situation is pretty fluid, but it's more encouraging than in the beginning of the week," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) in Sydney. "But there's too much uncertainty to do anything with a great degree of confidence."

The European Union and Britain continued trying to secure a Brexit trade deal, with diverging views on how far off the sides were from a deal.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.02%. Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.26%.

{{178|Japan's NiNikkei 225 futures added 0.13% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were flat.

Wall Street stocks were mixed, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high, lifted by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc, while the S&P 500 fell after a report that Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) had slashed the target for the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29%.

The dollar cratered on Thursday to its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years as signs of progress toward U.S. fiscal stimulus and optimism about COVID-19 vaccines kept investors hopeful.

U.S. Treasury yields fell as the market looked ahead to the November employment coming Friday.

An agreement among major oil producers to a slight increase in production lifted Brent crude prices by 1% to their highest since early March on Thursday.

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