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Asian markets up after positive Wall St. lead

A man talking on a mobile phone walks by the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. An increase in new US home sales and strong corporate earnings across a range of industries lifted investment sentiment in Asia, where most stock markets rose Wednesday. AP PHOTO/ITSUO INOUYE

HONG KONG—Asian markets rose on bargain-buying Wednesday and following a rally on Wall Street, with Tokyo enjoying a healthy bump as the dollar tries to break through the 100 yen barrier.

Investors took their lead from New York, which jumped on the back of upbeat earnings results from some corporate giants, while they seemed to brush off more weak manufacturing figures from China and Europe.

Tokyo rose 2.32 percent, or 313.81 points, to 13,843.46, while Seoul was up 0.87 percent, or 16.68 points, at 1,935.31 and Sydney was 1.72 percent higher, adding 86.2 points to 5,102.4.

In the afternoon Shanghai rose 1.55 percent, or 33.78 points, to 2,218.32 while Hong Kong added 1.73 percent, or 376.44 points, to 22,183.05.

With few other catalysts, Wednesday’s rises were helped by bargain hunting after a broad sell-off in the previous session.

The Nikkei in Tokyo climbed as the yen resumed its downward trend against the dollar in New York, with dealers expecting the US unit to soon break the 100 yen mark for the first time since April 2009.

The dollar bought 99.53 yen in early European trade, from 99.48 yen in late New York, while it is well up from 98.81 yen in Asia on Tuesday afternoon.

The euro fetched $1.23006 and 129.46 yen on Wednesday, compared with $1.2997 and 129.30 yen in New York late Tuesday.

Eyes will turn to Tokyo for the next peg, with the Bank of Japan due to wrap up another policy meeting, the first since it unveiled a huge stimulus package to boost the economy and bring an end to deflation.

In the United States the Dow ended 1.05 percent higher thanks to strong earnings from DuPont, United Technologies and Travelers, among others.

However, it suffered a mid-session plummet after someone used the Associated Press news agency’s Twitter account to tweet that there had been two explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama had been hurt.

The AP almost immediately announced it had been hacked and the message was false.

The S&P 500 added 1.04 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.11 percent.

Australian shares on Wednesday enjoyed a boost after inflation came in at a below-forecast 0.4 percent in the January-March quarter, stoking hopes the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates.

However, the Australian dollar weakened on the talk of a rate cut, buying US$1.0268 after the inflation figures were released, compared with US$1.275 before.

Oil prices were higher in Asia, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, adding 52 cents to $89.70 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery gaining 39 cents to $100.70.

An ounce of gold fetched $1,421.68 at 0945 GMT, compared with $1,414.10 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

– Singapore rose 1.17 percent, or 38.36 points, to 3,322.71.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation added 3.32 percent to Sg$10.90, while Singapore Airlines was up 1.22 percent to Sg$10.78

– Taipei rose 1.02 percent, or 80.94 points, to 8,023.71.

Formosa Plastics was up 4.78 percent at Tw$72.3 while HTC added 3.92 percent to Tw$278.5.

– Manila fell 0.14 percent, or 9.67 points, to 6,972.69.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone shed 0.20 percent to 2,988 pesos and Ayala Land lost 1.59 percent to close at 31 pesos.

– Wellington ended 0.50 percent, or 22.48 points, higher at 4,538.98.

Air New Zealand climbed 5.6 percent to NZ$1.52 and Fletcher Building was up 2.36 percent at NZ$8.71 but Telecom shed 1.5 percent to NZ$2.61.

– Jakarta gained up 0.73 percent, or 36.28 points, at 5,011.61.

Ramayana Lestari Sentosa jumped 7.69 percent to 1,540 rupiah, while Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia dropped 2 percent to 1,960 rupiah.

– Kuala Lumpur added 0.41 percent, or 6.96 points, to 1,707.35.

– Bangkok added 0.29 percent, or 4.50 points, to 1,553.85.

CP All dropped 10.34 percent to 39 baht, while Siam Makro jumped 10.56 percent to 754 baht.

– Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.—Danny McCord

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Tags: Asia , Finance , Forex , gold price , oil prices , Stock Activity , stocks

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