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Asian shares advance, dollar supported by March rate hike bets

TOKYO: Asian shares rose on Thursday as investors were encouraged by President Donald Trump’s less combative tone in his first speech to Congress, which sent Wall Street stocks sharply higher, while growing bets on a US rate hike this month buoyed the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5 per cent while Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.3 per cent to a 14-month high.

European shares could dip after the STOXX Europe 600 benchmark index hit a 15-month high on Wednesday, with spread-betters seeing a fall of 0.1 per cent in Germany’s DAX , Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC.

MSCI’s broadest gauge of the world’s stocks covering 46 countries scaled a record high, a day after it rose nearly 1 per cent for its biggest daily gain in almost three months.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average blasted through the 21,000-point mark for t ..

Trump pledged to deliver “massive” tax relief to the middle class and corporate tax cuts, to spend heavily on infrastructure and to ease regulations – steps that have helped to push US stocks higher since his election victory in November.