Asia futures mixed as gold prices hold near record peak


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gold bars and coins are stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich

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By Chris Prentice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asia futures were mixed on Wednesday and gold traded mixed, after U.S. and European equities gained overnight on strong earnings results.

Hong Kong futures () were 0.01% lower, while Nikkei futures () were trading slightly above the Nikkei 225 index’s () previous close and Australian shares were set to track Wall Street higher.

held near a fresh record set on Wednesday with a boost from a weaker U.S. dollar and stimulus expectations. Prices are up about 34% this year.

“Low rates of interest just increase the attractiveness of real assets,” David de Garis, director of economics at National Australia Bank, said on the bank’s morning podcast.

On Wall Street, Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 1.4%, the S&P 500 () gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite () added 0.5%, posting a new record peak and closing high.

A surprise quarterly profit from Walt Disney Co (N:) and a slate of upbeat results from healthcare companies lifted sentiment on Wall Street.

A group of Senate Republicans on Wednesday backed extending a $25 billion payroll assistance program for U.S. airlines, according to a letter seen by Reuters, lifting airline stocks.

In Europe, the broad FTSEurofirst 300 index () closed up 0.3% at 1,417.05, on support from gains across London-listed mining groups Rio Tinto (L:), BHP Group and Glencore (L:).

U.S. shares also saw support from expectations of more coronavirus spending, but later in the day Washington leaders appeared to harden their stances.

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The House Speaker said Democrats were determined to reach an agreement on a legislative package but only if it met the needs of Americans. The White House chief of staff said he will meet with Democratic leaders on Thursday evening, although he cautioned the two sides are still trillions of dollars apart in talks.

The dollar extended losses after U.S. private payrolls growth slowed sharply in July, pointing to a loss of momentum in economic recovery as new COVID-19 infections spread across the United States.

Oil prices rose to March highs after inventories fell sharply and the dollar weakened.

Treasury yields steepened on the prospect of increased supply in longer-dated debt after the Treasury Department said it would borrow more in the third quarter than previously anticipated.

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