Asia Stocks Outside Japan Rise, Oil Extends Gains: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks outside Japan built on gains for a second day as a rise in consumer confidence rekindled optimism in the strength of the U.S. economy. Oil rose for a second day while the dollar was steady.

Equities in Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore all rose after the S&P 500 Index posted its biggest gain in two weeks, lifted by data showing American consumers are more upbeat than any time since 2000. Japan’s Topix index fell as more than 1,500 of its constituent companies traded without the right to their latest dividend. Crude extended its gain above 48 a barrel. The dollar held Tuesday’s advance while gold fell.

Global stocks are on course for a fifth straight month of gains, with the MSCI All-Country World Index trading within a whisker of its all-time high reached earlier this month. That’s happening even as some reflation trades were rattled in March, while Federal Reserve officials reiterated that two more interest-rate increases in 2017 seem appropriate. A Bloomberg gauge of the dollar remains 3.7 percent lower this year.

“Rising consumer confidence and a gradual rate increase in the U.S. can only be positive for Asia,” said Andrew Inovero, assistant vice president for trust and investment at Malayan Bank. “There’s good correlation between what happens in the U.S. and Asia and it’s not only fund flows.”

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