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Asia shares mixed despite stronger Japanese growth

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, May 16, 2013. Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday following dour European economic data that dampened hopes of a recovery there anytime soon. However, losses were limited by another record session on Wall Street. AP PHOTO/KOJI SASAHARA

HONG KONG—Asian shares were mixed on Thursday despite another record US stocks close and fresh data that showed Japan’s economy grew faster than expected in the quarter to March.

The dollar was little changed against the yen after investors adjusted positions on the greenback’s recent surge, while the euro was weak on gloomy European growth data.

Tokyo fell 0.39 percent, or 58.79 points, to 15,037.24, Sydney dropped 0.50 percent, or 26 points, to 5,165.7, while Seoul rose 0.79 percent, or 15.55 points, to 1,986.81.

In Hong Kong, shares climbed 0.17 percent, or 38.44 points, to 23,082.68 while Shanghai gained 1.21 percent, or 27.01 points, to 2,251.81.

Official data showed Japan’s economy expanded 0.9 percent between January and March, an early sign of success in Tokyo’s bid to boost long-tepid growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

“The Japanese economy is on the right track to recovery… individual spending is picking up as the value of assets, including stocks, rose on the back of the brighter economic outlook,” said Hideki Matsumura, senior economist with the Japan Research Institute.

US stocks closed at new all-time highs on Wednesday following a choppy day of trading as investors shrugged off more economic gloom from the eurozone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.40 percent to 15,275.69, setting a record closing high for the second day in a row. The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.51 percent to 1,658.78.

Analysts said the market was reacting to improvements in the housing sector and strong gains in financial equities.

Meanwhile, official figures showed the eurozone economy shrank 0.2 percent between January and March, the sixth consecutive quarterly contraction in the longest recession since the single currency bloc was established in 1999.

The dollar was at 102.21 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against 102.23 yen in New York late Wednesday.

The euro was also marginally down against the Japanese currency at 131.60 yen from 131.72 yen in US trade, while it slipped to $1.2872 from $1.2884.

Oil was down in Asian trade, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, dropping 75 cents to $93.55 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery shedding 52 cents to $103.17.

Gold was at $1,374.10 at 1100 GMT compared with $1,409.00 late on Wednesday.

In other markets:

– Taipei rose 0.86 percent, or 71.46 points, to 8,390.05.

Hon Hai rose 0.64 percent to Tw$78.7 while TSMC fell 1.3 percent to Tw$113.5.

– Wellington fell 0.22 percent, or 10.30 points, to 4,636.03.

Telecom Corp. dropped 2.67 percent to NZ$2.55 while Fletcher Building slipped 0.23 percent to NZ$8.68.

– Manila fell 1.10 percent, or 81.26 points, to 7,310.94.

Metropolitan Bank lost 1.81 percent to 136 pesos while Megaworld Corp. fell 3.10 percent to 4.06 pesos.

– Jakarta ended down 0.22 percent, or 11.20 points, at 5,078.68.

Paper manufacturer Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper fell 4.32 percent to 1,550 rupiah, while cigarette maker Gudang Garam rose 1.49 percent to 54,400 rupiah.

– Kuala Lumpur fell 0.91 percent, or 16.31 points, to close at 1,766.72.

Axiata Group shed 0.6 percent to 6.91 ringgit, while Malayan Banking lost 1.2 percent to 10.02. Astro Malaysia Holdings inched up 0.3 percent to 3.16 ringgit.

– Singapore climbed 0.31 percent, or 10.75 points, to 3,452.28.

Singapore Telecom was up 0.25 percent to Sg$4.0 and DBS Bank eased 0.6 percent to Sg$17.28.

– Bangkok lost 0.75 percent, or 12.20 points, to end at 1,617.89.

Airports of Thailand added 3.55 percent to 160.50 baht, while supermarket firm Big C Supercenter dropped 3.54 percent to 218 baht.

– India’s Sensex index closed up 0.17 percent, or 34.37 points, at 20,247.33 points.

Mahindra and Mahindra closed up 0.06 percent at a new high of 985.25 rupees, while Reliance Communications closed down 0.83 percent at 113.85 rupees.—Preeti Jha with Dow Jones Newswires

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

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