Asian markets close mixed

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HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with a record-breaking close on Wall Street offset by profit-taking after the previous day’s broad gains.

Japan’s Nikkei edged higher, however, as traders bought back into the dollar following comments from the head of the US Federal Reserve that its stimulus program would be kept in place for some time.

Tokyo rose 0.23 percent or 33.67 points to 14,506.25, and Sydney added 0.17 percent or 8.2 points to close at 4,973.9. But Seoul dipped 0.41 percent or 7.62 points to 1,869.98
Shanghai fell 1.62 percent or 33.50 points to 2,039.49 as profit-takers moved in after enjoying a more than 3-percent rally on Thursday.

Hong Kong slipped 0.75 percent or 160.21 points to 21,277.28.


Regional sentiment was largely positive after the Dow and S&P 500 surged to new highs on Wall Street, as investors cheered Ben Bernanke’s statement that the Fed would continue its bond-buying “for the foreseeable future”.

While he said that the economy was showing signs of strength, Bernanke was still concerned about high unemployment and inflation.

The Dow surged 1.11 percent and the S&P 500 rallied 1.36 percent, while the Nasdaq added 1.63 percent to end at its highest level since September 2000.

Bernanke’s comments came as a surprise, with most economists expecting the bank to begin winding down the easy-money scheme that was introduced in September and has fuelled a rally in global markets.

The news sent the dollar tumbling about 2.5 percent against the yen on Thursday, before it picked up a tad to sit at 98.90 yen by New York City’s close on Thursday.

In European trade on Friday, it was at 99.14 yen. The euro fetched $1.3047 and 129.36 yen compared with $1.3092 and 129.50 yen.

AFP

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