Asian equities make rebound

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HONG KONG: Asian markets saw a mild bounce on Thursday after suffering heavy selling pressure this week, but traders remained on edge ahead of a possible military strike on Syria.

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The dollar also benefited as fears eased over the impact of an attack on the Middle Eastern country, which is accused of using chemical weapons on its own people.

India’s rupee was slightly off record lows touched on Wednesday, as investors fretted over the country’s stuttering economy as well as the future of the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus program.

Tokyo rose 0.91 percent, or 121.25 points to 13,459.71, while Sydney added 0.10 percent, or 5.2 points to close at 5,092.4, and Seoul advanced 1.22 percent, or 23.02 points to 1,907.54.

Hong Kong climbed 0.84 percent, or 180.13 points to 21,704.78, but Shanghai fell 0.19 percent, or 4.07 points to 2,097.23.

Buying sentiment was given a boost by a rally on Wall Street, which ended three days of losses, as energy companies benefited from a surge in oil prices.

The Dow rose 0.34 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.29 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.41 percent.

US President Barack Obama, who had warned the use of chemical weapons by Syria would cross a “red line,” said that Washington had definitively concluded that the Assad regime was to blame for last week’s attack that killed hundreds of people.

However, he said on Wednesday that he had not yet decided whether to strike.

His comments, which were more cautious than recent statements, come as political uproar in London cast doubt on whether Britain would join any such action.

Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires: “Excessive risk aversion is unwinding.”

Anxiety about Syria initially caused the dollar to weaken earlier this week, as investors bought alternative safe-haven currencies including the Swiss franc and yen.

“I think the general feeling is that the United States won’t be as heavily involved in Syria as it was when it invaded Iraq back in 2003,” he said.

AFP

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