Asia shares mixed after US record, dollar dips


HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed on Friday, following another record close on Wall Street, while the dollar faced some downward pressure after the US Federal Reserve indicated interest rates would stay ultra low into next year.

Oil prices were mixed after surging on the Iraq crisis on Thursday, while eyes now turn to the release next week of provisional manufacturing data from China, Europe and the United States.

Seoul shed 1.20 percent, or 23.96 points, to 1,968.07, Sydney fell 0.89 percent, or 48.7 points, to 5,419.5 while Tokyo finished flat, slipping 11.74 points to 15,349.42.

Shanghai closed 0.15 percent higher, adding 2.94 points, to 2,026.67 and in the afternoon Hong Kong was up 0.27 percent.

Profit-taking hit some markets after mostly ticking up on Thursday in response to the Fed’s broadly upbeat outlook on the US economy and chief Janet Yellen’s dovish comments on inflation. Her outlook that inflation will not get out of control raised the likelihood US interest rates will stay at record lows for at least another year.

In New York, the S&P 500 ended at an all-time high for the second straight session, helped by figures showing new claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell last week, pointing to a general downtrend in job losses.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.13 percent, while the Dow edged up 0.09 percent although the Nasdaq dipped 0.08 percent.

Gold prices rally
Japan’s Nikkei index led the way in Asia despite the dollar sinking further against the yen. Japanese exporters are usually hit by a stronger yen as it hurts their competitiveness overseas.

In afternoon trade the dollar was at 101.84 yen compared with 101.94 yen in New York Thursday afternoon.

The euro fetched $1.3623 and 138.75 yen against $1.3606 and 138.70 yen in US trade.

Oil prices were mixed but near nine-month highs after surging Thursday on the back of the Iraq crisis as government troops recaptured a major refinery and the US said it was sending in military advisers to train Iraqi forces.

The main US contract, West Texas Intermediate for July, rose 15 cents to $106.58 a barrel while Brent crude for August eased four cents to $115.02.

Both contracts jumped after US President Barack Obama said he was ready to send 300 military advisers to Iraq and if necessary to take “targeted” and “precise” military action to counter radical Sunni fighters.

And gold rallied in US trade as the prospect of low US interest rates meant there was more chance of inflation rising. The precious metal is considered a haven against rising prices while it also weakens when interest rates go up as dealers look for better returns.

Gold fetched $1,311.66 an ounce at 7 a.m. local time in Asia compared with $1,281.86 on Thursday.



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