Shares climb to 3-week highs

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    SYDNEY/NEW YORK- A gauge of Asian shares climbed to three-week highs on Wednesday as investors eyed the upcoming earnings season for further signs of a global economic recovery, while the dollar slipped to a two-week low.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan was up 0.3 percent for its second straight day of gains. It went as high as 697.01, a level last seen on March 18.

    Japan’s Nikkei was a shade higher while Australian shares rose 0.6 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.5 percent.

    Chinese shares, however, were weaker with the bluechip CSI300 index down about 1 percent after a strong rally last week.

    “The US economy is experiencing the first effects of a powerful double-dose vaccine of broad inoculation and fiscal stimulus,” said David Kelly, chief global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

    “The reality is that forecasts remain very uncertain…(but) early signs show the recovery is accelerating, suggesting a faster return to ‘normal’ than many had dared to hope a few months ago,” Kelly added.

    Overnight, the three major Wall Street indexes closed lower, a day after the S&P 500 and the Dow rose to record levels driven by optimism from a greater-than-expected jobs report last Friday and data showing a dramatic rebound in the US services industry on Monday.

    The Dow fell 0.3 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.10 percent and the Nasdaq Composite eased 0.05 percent.

    With the upcoming earnings season expected to show S&P profit growth of 24.2 percent from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv data, investors will be watching to see whether corporate results further confirm recent positive economic data. – Reuters