Asian markets mixed ahead of key US, China data

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Hong Kong—Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday as traders await key economic data out of the United States and China later in the week and the start of the corporate earnings season.

Tokyo climbed 0.74 percent, Sydney jumped 0.90 percent as dealers returned from a long weekend and Seoul added 0.77 percent.

Hong Kong slipped 0.25 percent and Shanghai was off 0.40 percent, with both markets suffering profit-taking after posting healthy gains in recent sessions.

There was also a certain amount of caution as the corporate earning season begins this week in Japan.

Eyes are on the United States as the Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, followed by the release on Friday of closely watched jobs data, with investors hoping for new clues on the state of the economy.

Friday will also see the release of Chinese manufacturing data, which is likely to add to recent evidence that the world’s number two economy has shaken off a malaise that weighed on growth for most of last year.

Japanese shares climbed despite a slight uptick in the yen, which has tumbled in recent months as dealers bet the central bank would further ease monetary policy.

In early Tokyo trade dollar bought 90.67 yen against 90.82 yen in New York Monday afternoon, while the euro fetched 121.95 yen, compared with 122.20 yen. The single currency was also at $1.3446, from $1.3454.

Despite a better-than-expected rise in orders for durable goods—a key pointer to consumer confidence—the lead from Wall Street was anaemic as profit-takers moved in following a strong finish to last week.

The Dow eased 0.10 percent and the S&P 500 fell 0.18 percent after the two indexes on Friday hit levels not seen since late 2007.

However, the Nasdaq rose 0.15 percent, boosted by a slight rebound in Apple.

Oil was up in Asia Tuesday, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March gaining 22 cents to $96.66 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery increasing 10 cents to $113.58.

Gold was at $1,658.90 at 0210 GMT compared with $1,655.09 late Monday.

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