HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday following a record close on Wall Street, but concerns about Greece’s long-running debt-reform talks sent the euro tumbling after a recent rally.
Another weak US indicator further dampened expectations the Federal Reserve will raise US interest rates soon, with analysts now tipping the final quarter of the year for an increase.
Tokyo climbed 0.68 percent, or 136.11 points, to close at 20,026.38 and Seoul rose 0.34 percent, or 7.13 points, to end at 2,120.85.
Shanghai surged 3.13 percent, or 134.06 points, to 4,417.55 and Hong Kong gained 0.36 percent, or 102.29 points, to end at 27,693.54.
But Sydney finished 0.77 percent lower, giving up 43.70 points to 5,615.50.
US investors pushed the Dow and S&P 500 to new records on Monday, thanks to a rally in Apple and multi-billion dollar acquisitions in the pharma and apparel sectors.
The Dow rose 0.14 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.30 percent, while the Nasdaq jumped 0.60 percent.
The gains have also been helped by the reduced expectations of a rate rise in the near future.
Disappointing data on homebuilders’ confidence was the latest figure to indicate weakness in the world’s top economy, following last week’s soft retail sales, consumer sentiment and industrial production figures.
“Patchy US data means that the Fed is highly unlikely to begin its policy normalization process until late in the December quarter,” Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at Perpetual Ltd., told Bloomberg News.
Euro suffers sell-off
“There has been a large upward movement in the dollar in the past 10 months and this has clearly weighed on US growth. The Fed could not possibly be convinced that the economy is on the right track until growth is above three percent for two consecutive quarters.”
The dollar continues to hold up, even though the chances of a rate increase have slimmed.
On Tuesday in Asia it was at 119.96 yen, compared with 119.97 yen in New York but up from 119.63 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.
The euro bought $1.1180 and 134.11 yen against $1.1315 and 135.75 yen in US trade. The single currency had been sitting above $1.1400 and 136 yen earlier Monday.
The single currency’s losses come after a recent rally against the dollar and yen despite Greece’s ongoing woes and the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program that essentially prints money.
Talks between Athens and its creditors have so far failed to reach an agreement to overhaul the troubled country’s bailout in a way that would release billions of euros to help it service its debts.
There are fears that if Greece defaults on those loans it could tumble out of the eurozone.
Late Monday Greece’s To Vima daily reported a European Commission proposal to break the deadlock by next month giving it a combined 3.7 billion euros in bailout cash in return for fiscal reforms worth 5.0 billion euros.
However, neither Athens nor the European Commission could confirm the report.
On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 64 cents to $58.79, while Brent crude for July eased 72 cents to $65.55.
Gold fetched $1,220.91 compared to $1,230.00 late Monday.