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Asian shares edge up with U.S. tax bill in focus



TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares pushed higher on Friday, cheered by Wall Street gains after apparent progress on U.S. tax legislation as investors waited for the Senate’s vote, while higher U.S. Treasury yields underpinned the dollar.

A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.1 percent. For the week, it was 2.6 percent lower.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 was up 0.8 percent in early trade, on track to gain 1.6 percent for the week.

“The Nikkei got a lift from the stronger dollar, while the market’s main focus is now whether the tax bill will pass or not,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

On Wall Street overnight, major indexes marked gains, with sentiment lifted by apparent progress toward passage of the tax reform legislation. The S&P 500 SPX hit a record closing high and the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI topped the 24,000 mark for the first time.

Chances of passage of a Senate tax bill rose with the endorsement of Senator John McCain, as that branch of Congress moved toward a decisive vote. The House approved its own tax bill on Nov. 16.

News of McCain’s endorsement pushed up U.S. Treasury yields to five-week highs, which underpinned the recently beleaguered dollar.

The 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR stood at 2.415 percent in early Asian trade, steady from its U.S. close on Thursday, and above Wednesday’s U.S. close of 2.322 percent.

The dollar was steady on the day 112.54 yen JPY= after touching 112.690 earlier, its highest since Nov. 21, moving away from a 10-week low of 110.85 yen touched on Monday.

The euro was also steady at $1.1908 EUR=, below a two-month peak of $1.1961 scaled on Monday.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was up 1.1 percent at $10,042, moving away from the previous session’s low of $9,000, and well shy of this week’s record high of $11,395.

Crude oil futures edged down but held on to most of their gains made on Thursday after OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed to extend output cuts until the end of 2018, while also signaling a possible early exit from the deal if the market overheats.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 were down 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $57.37 a barrel. For November, U.S. crude added 5.5 percent.

Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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