HONG KONG: Tokyo’s stock market clocked up a ninth straight gain on Wednesday thanks to a weaker yen while Shanghai jumped for a seventh session as investors bet on China unveiling more economy-boosting measures.
However, most other markets in Asia retreated following a sell-off on Wall Street.
The euro edged up slightly on bargain-buying although it is still struggling due to fears that Greece will default on its debt obligations.
An upbeat series of US data has put the wind back in the sails of the dollar, which is sitting just below eight-year highs against the yen as the chances of an interest rate rise increase.
Sydney shed 0.83 percent, or 48.1 points, to close at 5,725.3 and Seoul sank 1.68 percent, or 36.00 points, to 2,107.50, while Hong Kong fell 0.60 percent, or 168.65 points, to 28,081.21 Singapore closed down 1.01 percent.
Tokyo reversed morning losses to close up 0.17 percent, or 35.10 points, at 20,472.58 — a 15-year high.
And Shanghai gained 0.63 percent, or 30.81 points, to 4,941.71, meaning the index has put on more than 15 percent since it last fell on May 18 and is now at a seven-year high.
US traders fled to the sidelines Tuesday as they returned from a long weekend to a strong dollar, which hurts exporters.
Modest improvements in US consumer confidence, home sales and prices, as well as orders for core industrial goods, pointed to a pick-up in growth in the world’s biggest economy.
US rate hike
The data, along with comments from Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen who said on Friday that she expects to raise interest rates “at some point this year,” put upward pressure on the dollar.
In the afternoon the greenback was at 123.66 yen in Tokyo, against 123.09 yen in New York late Tuesday.
“Whether it’s durable goods, housing data or consumer confidence, US data are all above market expectations,” Hiroichi Nishi, a manager at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
“This leads to the view that the rate hike will come within this year.”
On Wall Street the Dow tumbled 1.04 percent, the S&P 500 fell 1.03 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1.11 percent.
The long-running saga over Greece’s bailout reform continues to drag on confidence, with the country unable to reach an agreement with its creditors that will release cash to help it avoid a default.
With a June 5 repayment deadline for Athens, the two sides are still no closer to a deal that will unlock the last tranche of bailout money. There are fears that a Greek default could see the country tumbling out of the eurozone, spooking global investors.
The euro was at $1.0877 and 134.48 yen Wednesday, compared with $1.0879 and 133.92 yen in US trade.
But the single currency is still sharply down from $1.1149 and 134.54 yen last week, owing to the Greek worries.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery gained 21 cents to $58.24, while Brent crude for July rose 13 cents to $63.85 in afternoon trade.
Gold fetched $1,184.80 compared with $1,195.35 late Tuesday.