SE Asia Stocks Edge Up; Singapore Hits Near 2 Yr High

World equity markets climbed to a record on Friday as the U.S. dollar held near three-year lows and a U.S. government shutdown loomed, while U.S. Treasury yields continued their ascent to hit their highest levels since September 2014.

USA stocks jumped on Wednesday and the Dow closed above 26,000 for the first time as investors' expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across sectors.

Without an infusion of new money, no matter how temporary, hundreds of thousands of "non-essential" federal workers may be put on furlough, while "essential" employees, dealing with public safety and national security, would continue working. "There is a strong possibility that the US government shutdown may become a reality".

"The fear of the USA government shutdown has made investors nervous", said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK.

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Japan's benchmark rose 0.19 percent, or 44.69 points, to close at 23,808.06.

The benchmark 10-year yield US10YT=RR hit its highest level since July 2014 at 2.661 percent, breaking the 2017 high of 2.64 percent the market had been flirting with all week.

"It's a continuation of the trend and expectations for a normalization of monetary policy", said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets, referring to rising USA bond yields.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose 0.49 percent, also a 2-1/2 year high, and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe.MIWD00000PUS gained 0.46 percent. The index had touched a fresh 26-year high in the last session, but pulled back from that level later in the day.

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Optimism over prospects for sustained strong global growth and improved corporate earning shave helped share markets rally at the start of 2018.

At 8:05 AM, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was at 32106.1 down 0.05%, South Korea's Kospi was at 2516.5 up 0.03%, Singapore's Straits Times was at 3526.4 up 0.15%, Japan's Nikkei 225 was at 23815.4 up 0.22%, Taiwan's Taiex was at 11116.3 up 0.27% and China's Shanghai Composite was at 3495 up 0.58%. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 0.36 percent in early trade while rival SK Hynix was lower by 0.27 percent.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $68.63 a barrel, down 1.03 percent on the day.

Down Under, the was little changed, trading 0.06 percent below the flat line.

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Gold prices XAU= rose, supported by a weaker dollar amid worries about a possible USA government shutdown, but the metal was still on track for its first weekly drop in six weeks.


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