• Asian markets mostly up, euro holds gains


    HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly advanced Friday following a healthy rally on Wall Street, while Tokyo was supported by a weaker yen and Hong Kong enjoyed strong buying in the afternoon to put on almost 2 percent.

    The euro remained a target for buying after this week’s upbeat eurozone growth data and despite Greece’s struggles to hammer out a debt reform deal with creditors.

    Tokyo’s Nikkei index climbed 0.83 percent, or 162.68 points to finish at 19,732.92 and Sydney put on 0.68 percent, or 38.9 points, to 5,735.5.

    Hong Kong rose 1.96 percent, or 535.73 points, to 27,822.28 on speculation authorities will soon announce a tie-up between the city’s index and Shenzhen’s, similar to that with Shanghai.

    However, Seoul fell 0.65 percent, or 13.83 points, to close at 2,106.50 while Shanghai shed 1.59 percent, or 69.62 points, to 4,308.69.

    The three main indexes in New York each tacked on more than one percent Thursday as expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates have fizzled in the wake of a string of soft economic indicators.

    Figures showing the US producer price index fell 0.4 percent last month more than wiped out March’s first increase since October and fell well short of forecasts for a 0.2 percent rise. That came a day after news that retail sales saw their weakest year-on-year growth since 2009.

    The results follow other poor recent indicators — including anaemic wage growth, a tepid manufacturing sector and weak economic growth — which analysts mostly say will likely keep the Fed from raising rates soon.

    In US trade the S&P 500 rose 1.08 percent to end at a record high, while the Dow rallied 1.06 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.39 percent.

    Despite lending rates tipped to remain at record lows for the time being the dollar ticked higher Friday.

    The greenback bought 119.48 yen against 119.19 yen in New York.

    Greece woes linger
    “We remain constructive on the US dollar but accept there is no near-term catalyst for recovery,” BNP Paribas said in a report. “The June 5 employment report may be the USD’s next best chance for new inspiration.”

    The euro was at $1.1397 and 136.10 yen against $1.1414 and 136.04 yen in US trade.

    The single currency has been buoyed this week by news the eurozone economy met expectations and grew 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, up from 0.3 percent in the previous three months.

    However, market-watchers remain nervous about Greece’s plodding talks with creditors on overhauling its bailout.

    The country’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has warned it could run out of money by the end of the month if it does not reach a deal that unlocks billions of dollars in much-needed cash to service its debts and avert a default.

    There are worries a default could set in motion Greece’s eventual ejection from the eurozone, which would ripple around the world.

    On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 40 cents to $59.48 while Brent crude for July fell 29 cents to $66.41 in afternoon trade.
    Gold fetched $1,214.19 from $1,218.82 late Thursday.



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