Stocks rise to record high

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    TOKYO/WASHINGTON – Asian shares rose to a record high and US stock futures gained on Wednesday as investors tracked positive news on COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing efforts to launch more fiscal stimulus.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.51 percent. At one point the index reached 646.10, an all-time peak.

    MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe also hit a record high.

    Australian shares gained 0.69 percent. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.01 percent to approach a 29 1/2-year high. Sentiment got an added boost after Japanese data pointed to a rebound in capital expenditure.

    Shares in China rose 0.15 percent. South Korean stocks also jumped by 1.26 percent to trade near a record high.

    US S&P 500 e-mini stock futures rose 0.11 percent in Asian trade after shares on Wall Street notched new record highs on Tuesday, boosted by positive vaccine news and seeming progress on US stimulus talks.

    The British pound was little changed before make-or-break talks on a trade deal between Britain and the European Union.

    “While hopes are still alive that a fresh stimulus package for the United States will be agreed on soon, it is looking less likely a Brexit deal will be made with negotiators from both sides acknowledging a deal may not be achieved,” analysts at ANZ Bank wrote in a research memo.

    “The next 24 hours will be critical and is likely to cause market volatility depending on what is or isn’t agreed.”

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.35 percent on Tuesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.28 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5 percent.