Most Asia markets rise; HK, Shanghai, lead way


HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday, with Hong Kong and Shanghai leading the way, while Tokyo marked an eighth straight gain to a 15-year high.

Greece’s snail-pace talks with creditors over reforming its bailout conditions continue to weigh on the euro, with little sign of a deal in sight despite a repayment deadline next week.

Hong Kong added 0.92 percent, or 257.03 points, to 28,249.86 — its highest since December 2007 — and Shanghai jumped 2.02 percent, or 97.10 points, to 4,910.90 — the highest since January 2008.

The indexes were boosted by hopes for fresh Chinese measures to boost the economy as well as Beijing’s decision Friday to relax rules on access to mainland financial markets.

Tokyo ended up 0.12 percent, or 23.71 points, at 20,437.48 helped by a weaker yen, hopes for corporate earnings and the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy.

Sydney gained 0.91 percent, or 51.9 points, to close at 5,773.4. But Seoul slipped 0.12 percent, or 2.60 points, to 2,143.50.

With Wall Street and most European markets closed Monday for public holidays there were few catalysts outside Asia to drive business.

But Shanghai added to a more than three percent rise Monday while Hong Kong was supported by an announcement Friday that Hong Kong and China would from July 1 allow cross-border sales of investment funds to retail investors.

The move is the latest opening by China of its financial markets and comes after November’s start of the cross-border tie-up between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. A similar stocks link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is expected later this year.

Euro hit by Greece fears
Traders are awaiting the release of key US data this week including revised economic growth for the first quarter and durable goods orders.

The results will provide more of a clue about the Federal Reserve’s timetable for raising interest rates. The central bank’s chief Janet Yellen said Friday she expects a rise “at some point this year” although she warned there were still weaknesses in the economy.

On currency markets the dollar was at 122.55 yen compared with 121.66 yen Monday.

The euro slipped to $1.0900 from $1.0980. It was at 133.56 yen compared to 133.60 yen.
Investors are warily watching Greece’s talks with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have dragged on for months with little progress.

On Monday Athens said it would keep servicing debt for as long as it can, with about 300 million euros due on June 5.

“To the extent that we are able to pay, we will keep on repaying these obligations,” spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters.

He added: “It is the government’s responsibility to be able to repay all these obligations… It is also the responsibility of the creditors to be faithful to (their) loan obligations.”

Greece’s government has been tied up in negotiations with its creditors for the past four months in a bid to unlock some 7.2 billion euros in bailout cash. But it has refused to agree to many of the austerity measures demanded of it.

There are fears that if it defaults on its repayments Greece could end up tumbling out of the eurozone.

Oil prices were higher. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery eased 12 cents to $59.60 while Brent crude for July fell 34 cents to $65.18 in afternoon trade.
Gold fetched $1,197.48 compared with $1,204.22 on Monday.


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