US data sends Asian markets recovering


HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly up on Monday, as a weak batch of US economic data provided hope that the Federal Reserve would put off announcing any winding down of its vast stimulus scheme at the end of a policy meeting this week.

Traders were upbeat despite a soft lead from Wall Street while the dollar edged up after suffering a sell-off on Friday in New York City.

Tokyo jumped 2.73 percent, or 346.60 points to 13,033.12, climbing for a second successive session after plunging more than 6 percent on Thursday.

Sydney rose 0.71 percent, or 34.1 points to 4,825.9, while Seoul lost 0.32 percent, or 6.14 points to 1,883.10.

Hong Kong saw gains, rising 1.22 percent, or 256.76 points to close at 21225.9.

However, Chinese stocks closed down in Shanghai by 0.27 percent, or 5.82 points at 2,156.22.

Global markets have see-sawed in recent weeks on expectations that the Fed will soon start to reel in its $85-billion-a-month stimulus that has been credited with fueling a stocks rally since September.

“As US employment data has shown signs of a weak economic recovery, I think the Fed will stand pat on its easing policies, opening the door to more yen weakening,” Naoki Fujiwara, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Selling pressure intensified on Tuesday when the Bank of Japan held off unveiling any more of its own easing measures.

However, the latest figures out of Washington on Friday suggest that the US economy is still too weak for the Fed to turn off the tap, with analysts saying that it is unlikely this week will see any such announcements.

Industrial production came in flat last month, there was a decline in the much-watched University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, and producer prices registered just a modest gain in May.

“The data coming in are up and down, and unconvincing that the US economy is on a firm recovery track, leading to more jitters about central bank policy,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

On Wall Street, the Dow fell 0.70 percent, the Standard and Poor’s 500 lost 0.59 percent, and the Nasdaq was down 0.63 percent.

The dollar also slipped in New York City on Friday but bounced back in Asia, thanks to a more confident outlook for the Fed meeting.

In Tokyo afternoon trade, the dollar was at 94.98 yen against 94.22 yen in New York City late on Friday. The euro was at $1.3334 and 126.71 yen from $1.3346 and 125.74 yen.


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