October 28, 2019 / 12:50 AM / 2 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge up to 3-month high, dollar marks time before Fed

* Asian stock markets : tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

* MSCI ex-Japan rises for a third straight day

* Japan’s Nikkei hits decade high

* Share sentiment boosted by trade talks, earnings

* Eyes on U.S. Fed rate decision, Brexit developments

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose on Monday to a three-month high as risk assets got a fillip from hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal as soon as next month while the dollar marked time as focus shifts to a U.S. rate decision.

In early Asian trades, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.2% for its third straight day of gains to 518.29, the highest since late July.

Japan’s Nikkei was also upbeat, rising 0.3% to a decade high.

The gains came after a positive session in U.S. and European markets on Friday.

U.S. and Chinese officials are “close to finalising” some parts of a trade agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and China’s Commerce Ministry said, with talks to continue.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he hopes to sign the deal with China’s President Xi Jinping next month at a summit in Chile.

The protracted trade war between the world’s largest economies has hurt manufacturing activity, exports and business confidence globally while denting profits of many major industrial firms.

Optimism that Beijing and Washington were finally close to resolving their dispute led the S&P500 to surpass its July 26 closing record of 3,025.86, though it ended a tad below that level on Friday. The S&P 500’s total return index posted an all-time high.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 started firm on Monday, extending the positive momentum from last week.

Strong results from companies including Intel also boosted sentiment in equities market. More than 81% of U.S. companies have beaten Wall Street expectations so far this earnings season despite concerns about the trade war.

Investors next await earnings from the likes of Alphabet Inc , Apple, Facebook and Exxon.

Activity later in the week will be dominated by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which markets expect is all but certain to lower interest rates at its Wednesday meeting.

The Bank of Japan meets on Thursday. On Friday, indicators for Chinese and U.S. manufacturing will be released.

“The outcome of the FOMC policy meeting will most likely draw the largest market reaction,” said Richard Grace, Sydney-based chief currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank.

“We also think the risk is the FOMC will articulate a pause,” for future rate decisions, Grace added.

“That means the 27.6% pricing for an additional 25 bps cut in December will quickly evaporate, sending U.S. yields and the USD higher.”

In currencies, the dollar index was unchanged at 97.822 against a basket of six major currencies. The Japanese yen was a tad lower at 108.72.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2824, barely changed from Friday’s close.

The European Union agreed to London’s request for a Brexit deadline extension but set no new departure date. That gave Britain’s divided parliament time to decide on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a snap election.

Earlier, sources told Reuters the 27 European Union countries that will remain after Brexit hope to agree on Monday to delay Britain’s divorce until Jan. 31 with an earlier departure possible.

The euro trod water too at $1.1083.

“It feels like the calm before a potential storm, where the event risk heats up with political twists and turns, key economic data and central bank meetings,” said Chris Weston, Sydney-based strategist at Pepperstone.

Oil prices climbed, supported by optimism on the trade front and by falling U.S. crude stocks.

U.S. crude rose 6 cents to $56.71 a barrel, while Brent gained 5 cents to $62.08.

Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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