Tokyo extends record run as Asia markets rally

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Hong Kong (AFP)

Tokyo's Nikkei led another broad advance across Asian markets on Tuesday, with the Nikkei on course to chalk up its 16th straight gain to extend an impressive record streak.

The Japanese market pushed to fresh 21-year highs on the back of a weaker yen and hopes that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's weekend election landslide will usher in further measures to boost the world's number three economy.

Equities powered ahead on Friday on news that senators passed a federal budget plan allowing them to introduce Donald Trump's much-vaunted tax cuts with a simple majority vote instead of a 60-40 split.

However, there are fears that the recent surge will run out of steam and lead to a sell-off.

"These markets are tired, fatigued and need new information to fuel the beast," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News.

Tuesday's rises in Asia came despite a retreat on Wall Street, where the Dow ended a five-day run of records ahead of a wave of corporate earnings releases including from General Motors, McDonald's and Amazon.

By the break on Tuesday, Tokyo stocks were up 0.2 percent to continue its best run of gains in its near 70-year history.

Sydney gained 0.2 percent, Seoul added 0.1 percent and Hong Kong was marginally higher.

Shanghai edged up 0.1 percent as investors await the release of the Communist Party's new Politburo Standing Committee, the powerful group that directs government policy.

On currency markets the dollar eased slightly but maintained its strength on hopes for Trump's tax cuts.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said Trump had voiced support for a new top rate for the wealthy in order to help the middle class.

"This is important because it reconciles his views with those of House speaker Paul Ryan who said last week that he didn’t want to see 'a big drop in income tax rates for high-income people'," said McKenna.

Traders are also keeping tabs on the president's pick as Federal Reserve boss, with the choice said to be between a fiscal hawk and a dove. Incumbent Janet Yellen is said to be an outside bet to retain her post when it is up for renewel early next year.

Trump said he will make an announcement "very shortly, pretty shortly".

The euro continues to struggle on uncertainty over Spain's Catalan crisis, while the European Central Bank meets on Thursday with analysts expecting it to wind down its stimulus.

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 21,733.10 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: FLAT at 28,311.40

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,384.99

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1758 from $1.1747 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3209 from $1.3199

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.38 yen from 113.41 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP four cents at $51.94 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP seven cents at $57.44 per barrel

New York - DOW: DOWN 0.2 percent at 23,273.96 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,524.45 (close)