Asian stock markets lifted by Wall Street's string of milestones, Iran nuclear deal

BANGKOK – World stock markets rose Monday after Wall Street posted its seventh straight week of gains and a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran boosted sentiment.

In early European trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent to 6,699.12 and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.7 per cent to 9,278.88. France’s CAC-40 added 0.4 per cent to 4,294.13.

Appetite for stocks was energized by Wall Street’s string of milestones and an easing of political risk signalled by the first significant progress in years to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran on Sunday reached an agreement with the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany to limit enrichment of uranium to 5 per cent, far below the level needed for nuclear weapons. Iran got limited relief from sanctions that have hobbled its economy, but an embargo on its oil exports remains in place while negotiations continue for an enduring deal.

“Perhaps the Iran nuclear deal, effectively setting limits to Iran’s nuclear program, has added to the buoyant risk mood,” said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

Wall Street continued to be lifted by the Federal Reserve’s super easy monetary policy, signs of gradual improvement in the U.S. economy and rising company profits.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed above 1,800 for the first time Friday, capping seven straight weeks of gains. The Dow also logged a seventh week of increase.

Futures augured more gains for U.S. stocks. Dow and S&P 500 futures were both up 0.3 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average jumped 1.5 per cent to 15,619.13 and Seoul’s Kopsi climbed 0.5 per cent to 2,015.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 per cent to 5,352.80. Markets in India, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan also rose, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed gains to close down slightly at 23,684.45.

Also going against the trend was Thailand where the SET index fell 0.5 per cent as protesters invaded the Ministry of Finance’s compound in Bangkok, escalating a campaign to topple the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after weekend protests drew tens of thousands.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down $1.32 to $93.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as the nuclear deal made it more likely that the sanctions choking Iranian oil exports will eventually be lifted. The contract fell 60 cents to close $94.84 on Friday.

The euro fell to $1.3520 from $1.3544 late Friday. The dollar rose to 101.71 yen from 101.29 yen late Friday.