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Asia shares mixed ahead of Bernanke testimony

/ 11:10 PM May 21, 2013

People under umbrellas walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, May 20, 2013. Asian shares were mixed Tuesday after a dip on Wall Street ahead of testimony from the US Federal Reserve chief and a policy meeting of the Japanese central bank. AP PHOTO/KOJI SASAHARA

HONG KONG—Asian shares were mixed Tuesday after a dip on Wall Street ahead of testimony from the US Federal Reserve chief and a policy meeting of the Japanese central bank.

The dollar turned higher against the yen in Asia as investors waited for Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony on the US economic outlook to Congress on Wednesday.

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Tokyo stocks rose 0.13 percent, or 20.21 points, to 15,381.02, Sydney fell 0.56 percent, or 28.9 points, to 5,180.1, and Seoul slipped 0.07 percent, or 1.34 points, to 1,981.09.

In Shanghai shares climbed 0.22 percent, or 5.12 points, to 2,305.11, while Hong Kong fell 0.54 percent, or 126.66 points, to 23,366.37.

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Japanese stocks recouped early losses to close at their best finish since December 2007.

“Under the current bullish sentiment, buying on dips can easily emerge as long as the yen stays weak,” said Katsuhiro Kondo, a broker at Tokai Tokyo Securities. “Today, we just saw that scenario again.”

US stocks slipped Monday despite a flurry of merger and acquisition news. Analysts said the market was taking a breather before Bernanke’s testimony and the release of the Fed minutes from the last policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.12 percent to 15,335.28, while the broad-market S&P 500 lost 0.07 percent to 1,666.29.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan is due to reveal the outcome of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday.

Few expect the central bank to take fresh measures after its massive monetary easing in early April drove the yen down to multi-year lows against the dollar.

The dollar was changing hands at 102.52 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.26 yen in New York late Monday. The euro rose to 132.11 yen from 131.76 yen in the US while edging upward to to $1.2886 from $1.2884.

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“Foreign investor money flows remain very strong, limiting selloffs,” said Monex market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama.

Oil was up in Asia with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, adding 16 cents to $96.87 a barrel in the afternoon. Brent North Sea crude for July delivery increased 25 cents to $105.05.

Gold was at $1,376.88 at 1120 GMT from $1,349.38 late on Monday.

In other markets:

— Taipei rose 0.07 percent, or 6.0 points, to 8,383.05.

Hon Hai Precision was 0.26 percent higher at Tw$77.3 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 1.32 percent to Tw$112.5.

— Wellington slipped 0.17 percent, or 7.82 points, to 4,590.84.

Contact Energy fell 1.11 percent at NZ$5.33 while Air New Zealand rose 0.33 percent to NZ$1.54.

— Manila climbed 0.72 percent, or 52.20 points, to 7,327.58.

Top-traded Ayala Land rose 2.75 percent to 35.50 pesos while SM Investments Corp. added 0.34 percent to 1,189 pesos.

— Singapore dropped 0.30 percent, or 10.33 points, to close at 3,443.90.

United Overseas Bank shed 0.45 percent to Sg$22.00 and real estate developer Capitaland dropped 1.33 percent to Sg$3.72.

— Jakarta lost 0.50 percent, or 26.22 points, to 5,188.76.

Palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari rose 1.43 percent to 17,700 rupiah, while textile firm Indo-Rama Synthetics lost 3.70 percent to 1,300 rupiah.

— Bangkok closed flat, edging up 0.03 points to 1,643.43.

Bangkok bank slipped 0.90 percent to 219 baht, while energy giant PTT rose 0.58 percent to 345 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur shares rose 0.58 percent, or 10.23 points, to 1,787.38.

Tenaga gained 1.0 percent to 8.30 ringgit, while YTL Corp. added 1.8 percent to 1.74. UEM Land Holdings slipped 1.4 percent to 3.46 ringgit.

— Mumbai lost 0.56 percent, or 112.37 points, to close at 20,111.61.

Jindal Steel dropped 1.64 percent to 303.25 rupees and Ranbaxy Laboratories slipped 1.76 percent to 245.85 rupees.—Preeti Jha with Dow Jones Newswires 

Originally posted: 11:28 am | Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

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TAGS: Asia, Ben Bernanke, Finance, Forex, gold price, oil prices, Stock Activity, Stock Market, stocks, US Federal Reserve
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