• Asia shares up on Wall St record, dollar slips against pound

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    HONG KONG: Asian markets advanced on Wednesday, taking a strong lead from a record close on Wall Street, while a weaker yen helped Tokyo add to the previous day’s healthy gains.

    The dollar sat at more than five-and-a-half-year lows against the pound after a strong set of manufacturing figures out of Britain.

    Investors are also eyeing the release later in the week of closely watched US jobs figures that will provide fresh clues about the strength of the recovery in the world’s number one economy.

    Tokyo rose 0.29 percent, or 43.77 points, to 15,369.97, Sydney added 1.48 percent, or 79.5 points, to 5,455.4 and Seoul put on 0.81 percent, or 16.28 points, to close at 2,015.28.

    Shanghai ended 0.44 percent, or 9.04 points, higher at 2,059.42 while in the afternoon Hong Kong advanced 1.22 percent.

    US shares jumped in response to news out of China that a survey of manufacturing activity in June hit its highest level this year, suggesting a growth slowdown may have bottomed out. Traders were also boosted by surprisingly strong figures for US auto sales.

    The Dow climbed 0.77 percent Tuesday and the S&P 500 added 0.67 percent—both ending at all-time highs. The Nasdaq surged 1.14 percent.

    US jobs report in view
    Investors were unfazed by the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index of manufacturing activity, which dipped marginally in June.

    Focus now turns to the release of non-farm payrolls figures from the US Labor Department.

    “Upcoming US jobs data should help to reinforce hopes that the US economic recovery remains on track,” Mizuho Securities senior technical analyst Yutaka Miura told Dow Jones Newswires.

    On currency markets, the dollar headed back toward 102 yen after sinking over the past few days. In New York on Tuesday the greenback rose to 101.53 yen from 101.40 yen in Tokyo earlier in the day.

    In Asian business on Wednesday the unit sat at 101.55 yen. The euro bought $1.3677 and 138.90 yen in Tokyo against $1.3677 and 138.88 yen in New York.

    The dollar was also under pressure against the pound after a surprise rise in British manufacturing data for June.

    The pound bought $1.7156 in Tokyo after hitting $1.7166 on Tuesday, the highest level since October 2008.

    Currency dealers have been moving into the pound in recent weeks after the head of the Bank of England suggested interest rates could rise sooner than initially thought as the economy picks up pace.

    On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery rose 10 cents to $105.44, while Brent crude gained nine cents to $112.38 in afternoon trade.

    Gold fetched $1,326.81 an ounce at 7 a.m. local time compared with $1,325 on Tuesday.

    AFP

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