Asian markets advanced Tuesday as energy plays rallied after rising oil prices spurred a banner session on Wall Street. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index tacked on 0.70 percent, likely boosted in part by a slightly weaker yen. The US dollar was fetching 109.03 yen at 8:06 a.m. SIN/HK time, up from levels as low as around 108.50 yen in the previous session.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.30 percent, as a 1.07 percent gain in the materials subindex and a 1.57 percent gain in the energy subindex were offset by the heavily weighted financials subindex falling 0.09 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi index edged up 0.06 percent. “Markets seem to be in a relatively sweet spot with a steadily stronger US dollar and resilient commodities prices,” Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at spreadbettor IG, said in a note Tuesday. “Many investors have been predicting a pullback in markets, but despite all the negativity, markets have continued to grind higher.” Energy shares gained. In Australia, Woodside added 1.42 percent and Santos gained 3.15 percent. Japan’s Inpex added 1.97 percent and South Korea’s S-Oil rose 1.06 percent. US crude oil futures settled up 3.16 percent at USD 47.72 a barrel, while Brent settled up 2.38 percent at USD 48.97, with both at their highest settlement since November 3. The gains came on growing Nigerian oil output disruptions and after long-time bear Goldman Sachs said the market had flipped to a deficit, ending almost two years of oversupply. “The increasing intensity in supply-side disruptions in the oil market should see prices well supported in the short term,” ANZ said in a morning note Tuesday, adding that the rise in crude prices helped to boost commodities and commodity currencies overnight. In Australia, mining shares gained amid higher commodity prices. BHP Billiton added 2.53 percent, while Rio Tinto was up 1.28 percent. Apple’s suppliers may also be in focus on Tuesday. Apple closed the US session up 3.7 percent, its best day since March 1, after storied investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway said it invested more than USD 1 billion for a new stake in the company. In Japan, Apple supplier Japan Display added 1.52 percent and in South Korea, Samsung Electronics, which is both an Apple supplier and competitor, rose 0.40 percent. Weighing on Australia’s benchmark index, shares of National Australia Bank dropped 3.27 percent as the stock went ex-dividend. NAB paid a dividend of 99 Australian cents. Markets will watch for the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia meeting for hints on the central bank’s reasoning for its 25 basis-point interest rate cut to a new record low of 1.75 percent, and whether more cuts might be on the cards. Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) data are also due. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 175.39 points, or 1 percent, at 17,710.71, the S&P 500 closed up 19.92 points, or 0.97 percent, at 2,066.53 and the Nasdaq composite closed up 57.78 points, or 1.22 percent, at 4,775.46.
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