Asian stocks climb after record highs on Wall Street

Hong Kong — Asian shares climbed in early trade on Tuesday after Wall Street hit record highs overnight, as investors awaited the second-quarter earnings season and a batch of economic data, including US inflation figures later in the day.

Investors are bracing for an eventful week which will include the start of the US earnings season, inflation data from several countries and a testimony by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell. The testimony will be scrutinised for any clues on the timing of potential US tapering.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5%, tracking a Wall Street rally overnight. The index is down 3.1% so far this month.

Australian shares were up 0.49%, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose 0.79%.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.65%.

Overnight, Wall Street’s main indices closed at their highest levels, lifted by Tesla and bank stocks. Tesla rallied more than 4% and was the top contributor to gains in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

CEO Elon Musk insisted in court on Monday he does not control Tesla, and he said he did not enjoy being the electric vehicle company’s CEO as he took the stand to defend the company’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity.

The S&P 500 banks index climbed 1.3% ahead of quarterly earnings reports this week from large banks. JPMorgan Chase rose more than 1% and Goldman Sachs rallied more than 2%, fuelling the Dow’s gains.

“Financials have been unloved for the best part of two months as yield curves have flattened and reflation bets unwound. With earnings season upon us and US (10-year) yields now looking like they may have found a bottom, we could see some rotation back into banks,” said ANZ analysts in a note.

The next question is whether company earnings will support Wall Street’s run higher.

S&P 500 companies’ earnings per share for the June quarter are expected to rise 66%%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and other big banks kick off results from Tuesday.

US inflation data on Tuesday will also be in focus as investors try to gauge whether price pressures in the world’s largest economy persist.

Concerns that climbing cases of the Delta variant around the world could derail a global economic recovery have fuelled appetite for safe-haven US Treasuries. The benchmark US 10-year bond yield fell last week to a five-month low of 1.25%.

While markets have since stabilised, yields are not far off four-month lows at 1.3695%.

In currency markets, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was last down at 92.214, after touching a three-month top of 92.844 last week.

US crude ticked up 0.3% to $74.32 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $75.37 a barrel. Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold was traded at $1807.35 an ounce.