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Asian markets gain, Europe data upbeat

August 14, 2012

HONG KONG: Asian markets rose today in quiet trade following a muted lead from Wall Street, while sentiment remained high on expectations of policy moves by central banks in Europe, China and the US.

With few catalysts from yesterday, eyes were on the release of key data in France, Germany and the United States for clues on the state of the global economy.

Tokyo gained 0.50%, or 44.73 points, to 8,929.88, Seoul rose 1.27%, or 24.52 points, to 1,956.96, while Sydney was up 0.21%, or 8.9 points, to close at 4,292.2.

In the afternoon Hong Kong climbed 0.51% and Shanghai was 0.15% up.

Markets seemed unmoved initially by forecast-beating figures out of Germany and France, which are feeling the pinch from the long-running debt crisis that has pushed much of Europe into recession.

The German economy, Europe’s biggest, beat forecasts to grow 0.3% in the second quarter, buoyed by rising exports and robust domestic demand, while France managed zero growth, beating expectations it would begin a slide into recession.

Later in the day, Washington will unveil figures on retail sales, a major contributor to the world’s biggest economy.

Wall Street was unable to provide any inspiration yesterday. The Dow fell 0.29%, the S&P 500 eased 0.13% and the Nasdaq was flat.

In afternoon forex trade the dollar was at 78.42 yen from 78.32 yen in New York Monday, while the euro bought US$1.2345 and 96.81 yen, from US$1.2333 and 96.55 yen.

Global markets have made impressive gains in August after the European Central Bank hinted at the start of the month that it would restart its sovereign bond-buying programme to help under-pressure economies such as Spain.

The US Federal Reserve has also hinted at a third round of stimulus to kickstart growth, while a poor set of trade and production figures from China last week have raised expectations of fresh monetary easing by Beijing.

“The pre-conditions for our market rising further will require positive developments in China, the US and Europe,” said RBS Morgans principal investment adviser Christopher Macdonald in Australia.

Oil was mixed in Asian afternoon trade today, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, gaining nine US cents to US$92.82 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for September fell 11 US cents to US$113.49.

Gold was at US$1,614.25 at 0705 GMT, from US$1,622.80 yesterday.

In other markets:

  • Wellington rose 0.39%, or 13.92 points, to 3,608.88. Contact Energy was up 0.6% to NZ$4.88 on a solid annual result, while Telecom Corp gained 2.0% to NZ$2.71.
  • Taipei climbed 0.58%, or 42.95 points, to 7,479.25. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.60% higher at Tw$83.2 while Hon Hai Precision edged up 0.12% to Tw$85.0.

-AFP

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