Asia stocks set to edge higher

Pedestrians walk pass past an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo,. (Bloomberg pic)

SYDNEY: Asian stocks looked set to kick off the week on a positive note after US equities neared all-time highs Friday on signs the US economy is continuing to add jobs with few signs of inflation.

Oil rose as fighting in Libya raised the risk of supply outages.

Futures in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia all pointed higher late Friday.

S&P 500 Index futures were little changed after the benchmark rounded out last week with gains that took it to a six-month high, approaching its September record.

Treasury yields slipped and the dollar edged higher. As President Donald Trump pressured the Federal Reserve to sustain growth, comments from both the US and China suggested progress was being made in trade talks.

China and the US will keep talking on remaining issues after making new progress in the latest round of talks, Xinhua reported. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the two sides are “closer and closer” to a deal, and that top-tier officials would be talking this week.

“Valuations are ok, global growth is expected to improve into the second half of the year, monetary and fiscal policy has become more supportive of markets and the trade war is receding,” said Shane Oliver, investment strategist at AMP Capital Investors. This “should support decent gains for share markets through 2019 as a whole.”

Elsewhere, the pound steadied as British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to both the public and politicians in search of support for a compromise departure plan.

While May will meet EU leaders Wednesday to make her case for a short extension to June 30, European Council President Donald Tusk is pushing for a delay of as long as a year to allow time to forge a new consensus.