HONG KONG Jan 3 Many Asian stocks were set to
start Thursday with mild gains while oil eased following the
previous session's rally as investors look ahead to negotiations
on the U.S. debt limit and spending cuts.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) opened
up 0.5 percent at 2,040.51 points at 0002 GMT, but fell back,
while Australian shares rose 0.4 percent to a fresh 19-month
high early on Thursday, boosted by miners and banks.
Stocks on Wall Street started 2013 with their best day in
more than a year as relief over a last-minute deal in Washington
to avert the "fiscal cliff" sparked a broad rally with
technology and banking shares leading the move higher.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index of
stocks was up 0.2 percent in early trading following a jump of
more than 2 percent on Wednesday. Australian shares were
up 0.4 percent with mining giant Rio Tinto up 1.6
In currencies, the euro which in overnight trading
was close to a 8-1/2 month high against the dollar, was trading
High-yielding currencies such the Australian dollar
, last quoted at $1.0492, held on to their broad gains
as the dollar remained on the back foot.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,687.55 an ounce,
while oil futures dipped 37 cents to $92.75.