Asian stocks hit record peak

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    SYDNEY- Asian stocks hit a record high on Monday as vaccine optimism and strong economic data from China and Japan outshone worries about rising coronavirus cases, lifting just about every sector.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1 percent to hit its highest since its launch in 1987 with markets across the region making milestone peaks.

    Japan’s Nikkei traded at 29-year highs, South Korea’s Kospi at its highest since early 2018 and Australia’s ASX 200 hit an eight-month peak in the morning, before a glitch halted trade.

    S&P 500 futures rose 0.6 percent following the index’s record close on Friday, Nasdaq 100 futures leapt 1 percent and European futures were up strongly with EuroSTOXX 50 futures up 0.8 percent and FTSE futures up half a percent.

    “There’s just mountains of cash sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be put to work and since we’ve got this vaccine news, as well as diminished risk around the US elections, all of this is flying into equities,” said Kyle Rodda, analyst at IG Markets. “Everyone’s thinking now that it’s the cue to get in.”

    Currencies and commodity markets were a little more circumspect, but the dollar was down a tad against trade-exposed currencies and oil prices firmed after falling on Friday.

    Japanese economic growth, which beat records and forecasts to pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession and better-than-expected industrial output in China added to the enthusiastic mood, as did a weekend trade deal.