Asian markets up as investors eye US data

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A man walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index outside a Hong Kong local bank Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. Asian markets rose Tuesday with Tokyo lifted by a weaker yen ahead of fresh numbers that will give an indication of the strength of the US economy. AP PHOTO/VINCENT YU

HONG KONG—Asian markets rose Tuesday afternoon with Tokyo lifted by a weaker yen ahead of fresh numbers that will give an indication of the strength of the US economy.

Tokyo jumped 2.57 percent by the close after slipping on Monday following disappointing Japanese growth figures.

Seoul ended up 1.5 percent, or 28.20 points, at 1,913.03, while Sydney closed up 0.96 percent, or 49.0 points, at 5157.7.

Hong Kong closed up 1.21 percent, or 269.85 points, at 22,541.13, with investors still broadly bolstered by last week’s positive indicators pointing to stability in the region’s largest economy.

In Shanghai, Chinese shares ended up a more modest 0.23 percent, or 4.88 points, at 2,106.16.

The jump in Tokyo was boosted by a fall in the yen against the dollar, making Japanese exporters more competitive overseas. Investors bought back Tokyo shares as the greenback rose to 97.30 yen in early trade, compared with 96.90 yen in New York Monday.

The euro was at $1.3292 and 129.31 yen, mixed from $1.3299 and 128.84 yen in New York.

Sentiment also got a boost after a report in the leading Nikkei business daily said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was reviewing a possible corporate tax rate cut in a bid to stoke growth and offset the impact of a national sales tax hike.

Tokyo is mulling lifting Japan’s consumption tax in a bid to bring down a debt pile that is the worst in the industrialized world at 1.008 quadrillion yen—more than twice the size of the economy.

Looking ahead, investors are closely watching a string of data releases due this week from the United States.

Figures for retail sales, housing and industrial production will give clues as to whether the Federal Reserve could begin to taper its huge $85 billion a month quantitative easing program which has buoyed international markets in recent months.

Retail data are expected on Tuesday while housing and industrial figures will be released later in the week.

US markets closed flat on Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping 0.04 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.27 percent.

European stocks also closed mixed as investors kept their positions amid heightening concerns of yet another Greek bailout, dealers said.

In oil markets, New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was up 70 cents at $106.81 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade. Brent North Sea crude for September gained 61 cents to $109.63.

Gold continued its recent rise, selling at $1,328.19 an ounce at 1105 GMT compared with $1,323.23 late Monday and $1,309.00 late Friday.

In other markets:

— Manila closed up 1.72 percent, or 110.81 points, to 6,554.62.

Top-traded Metropolitan Bank led gainers, rising 1.05 percent to 106 pesos. SM Investments ended 3.11 percent up to 846.50 pesos, while Universal Robina Corp. soared 6.47 percent to 123.50 pesos.

— Taipei rose 1.05 percent, or 82.89 points, at 7,986.27.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 1.25 percent higher at Tw$97.2, while leading integrated circuit design house MediaTek gained 3.83 percent to Tw$366.0.

— Wellington closed flat, edging up just 0.08 percent, or 3.52 points, to 4,525.82.

Telecom Corp. was up 0.66 percent at NZ$2.295, Warehouse Group rose 1.06 percent to NZ$3.80 and Fletcher Building was down 0.24 percent at NZ$8.22.

— Kuala Lumpur ended up 0.59 percent, or 10.52 points, at 1,795.09.

CIMB ended 1.4 higher at 8.07 ringgit while Tenaga gained 0.8 percent to 8.99. YTL Corp lost 0.6 percent to 1.66 ringgit.

— Jakarta ended up 1.19 percent, or 54.62 points, at 4,652.40.

Indofood Sukses Makmur rose 2.22 percent to 6,900 rupiah, while palm oil firm Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology fell 14.62 percent to 7,300 rupiah.

— Singapore closed up 0.37 percent, or 11.88 points, at 3,244.12.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation gained 0.28 percent to Sg$10.73 and oil rig maker Keppel Corp. was up 1.83 percent at Sg$10.59.

— Bangkok added 1.87 percent, or 26.83 points, to 1,459.08.

Coal producer Banpu jumped 12.02 percent to 261 baht, while supermarket operator Siam Makro fell 7.74 percent to 644 baht.

— Mumbai rose 1.49 percent, or 282.86 points, to 19,229.84.

India’s Future Retail gained 9.24 percent to 91.05 rupees while vehicle maker Tata Motors added 3.61 percent to 291.65 rupees.—Jerome Taylor

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