• Asian stocks rise, euro hit by Russia fears


    HONG KONG: Asia’s markets mostly rose on Wednesday, extending a recent rally, with a weaker yen boosting Tokyo while investors await the release this week of key US data and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

    The US and Europe’s imposition of fresh sanctions on Russia left Wall Street in negative territory, while the euro struggled at eight-month lows against the dollar owing to concerns about the impact of the measures on the eurozone economy.

    Tokyo rose 0.18 percent, or 28.16 points, to a six-month high of 15,646.23, Sydney added 0.62 percent, or 34.46 points, to close at 5,622.9 and Seoul climbed 1.00 percent, or 20.64 points, to 2,082.61.

    Hong Kong rose 0.37 percent, or 91.68 points, to 24,732.21 but Shanghai ended marginally lower, dipping 1.95 points to 2,181.24.

    The Japanese market has enjoyed a pick-up in recent weeks thanks to a dip in the yen, which helps exporters, as well as upbeat corporate earnings.

    Tuesday saw auto giant Honda post healthy second-quarter earnings and announce an increase in its full-year sales and profit forecasts. That came a day after rival Nissan said quarterly profit surged 37 percent.

    In early trade, the dollar was at 102.16 yen compared with 102.13 yen. The last time the dollar was above the 102 mark was July 7.

    Regional dealers were given an anaemic lead from Wall Street, where all three main indexes fell after Washington and Europe broadened sanctions against Moscow.

    The European Union imposed new restrictions on the finance, defense and energy sectors, while the United States hit Russia’s energy sector, arms industry and financial institutions.

    The Dow fell 0.42 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.45 percent and the Nasdaq edged down 0.05 percent.

    The euro also took a hit, with Tuesday’s announcement sparking speculation about the effects on the already fragile eurozone economy, which relies heavily on Russian energy.

    In Tokyo, the single currency sank to $1.3402, its lowest since November, while it also bought 136.92 yen against 136.93 yen in New York trade.

    Dealers are now awaiting the release of data on US economic growth for the second quarter and jobs creation.

    Wednesday will also see the Federal Reserve hold its latest policy meeting.

    On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery gained 52 cents to $101.49, and Brent crude for September was down 47 cents at $107.77 in afternoon trade.




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