• Asian shares down on profit-taking

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    HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly slipped on Monday on profit taking after the big gains at the end of last week, while the dollar eased from more than six-year highs against the yen.

    Investors seemed unfazed after the Group of 20 said the world’s biggest economies were on track to achieve an extra 1.8 percent growth on top of current projections within five years.

    Tokyo shed 0.81 percent by the break, Hong Kong sank 1.30 percent, Shanghai was 0.78 percent lower, Sydney eased 0.75 percent and Seoul gave up 0.77 percent.

    But Wellington was the stand-out performer, jumping 1.30 percent after the pro-business National Party won a resounding election victory at the weekend.

    Regional markets ended last week on a high, helped by news that Scottish voters had rejected independence from the United Kingdom.

    But there are still concerns about the Chinese economy as dealers look ahead to the release Tuesday of manufacturing activity figures, while a pick-up in the yen dragged Japan’s Nikkei back from a seven-year high.

    On Wall Street a surge in new-listing Alibaba helped the Dow to rise 0.08 percent to hit a new record high. But the S&P 500 finished down 0.96 points and the Nasdaq dipped 0.30 percent.

    Alibaba rallied 38.1 percent to $93.89 on its debut after its IPO raised a world record $25 billion.

    However, in Tokyo Monday Softbank, which holds about a third of Alibaba’s shares, slipped 4.0 percent on profit-taking despite saying it would probably book a gain of about $4.6 billion from the IPO. The firm rose about 30 percent in the six weeks leading up to the listing.

    The dollar bought 109.05 yen, compared with 108.99 yen in New York and sitting at levels not seen since 2008. However, it is well off the 109.21 yen earlier Friday in Asia.

    The euro bought $1.2845 and 140.07 yen, against $1.2832 and 139.84 yen in US trade.

    The G20 at the weekend said members could fend off geo-political tensions and financial problems to boost global growth.

    Finance ministers and central bank governors at the two-day meeting said in a communique that reforms agreed so far — including to accelerate infrastructure investment, financial reform and encourage free trade — could add 1.8 percent to GDP and create millions of new jobs.

    But more work was needed to meet a desired two percent goal agreed in Sydney earlier this year.

    In New Zealand investors cheered a third straight election win for the party of Prime Minister John Key, who has been credited with hauling the economy out of a torpor following the financial crisis.

    On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 12 cents to $92.29 while Brent crude for November fell 34 cents to $98.05.

    Gold was at $1,214.99 an ounce, against $1,221.56 an ounce on Friday.

    AFP

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