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Asian shares broadly higher on Wall St lead

Asian markets mostly climbed on Tuesday after a string of recent losses as Wall Street provided a positive lead following upbeat US data ahead of a closely watched Federal Reserve meeting.

The dollar was up against the yen from Monday’s levels in Asia as expectations grow that the Fed will announce a cut in its stimulus programme after its two-day meeting.

Tokyo rose 0.94 percent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.41 percent, Sydney gained 0.10 percent and Seoul put on 0.68 percent but Shanghai eased 0.30 percent.

Global markets have mostly fallen over the past week as investors speculate about the future of the Fed’s $85 billion a month bond-buying, which has helped fuel an equities rally since it was unveiled in September last year

But as the central bank prepares for a two-day meeting starting on Tuesday, investors made the most of cheap stocks after another set of positive US figures showing industrial output surged a solid 1.1 percent in November.

Also Monday, preliminary data indicated manufacturing expanded for a fourth consecutive month in December.

On Wall Street, the Dow rose 0.82 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.63 percent and the Nasdaq picked up 0.71 percent.

Markit Economics said business activity in the 17-nation eurozone ticked up in December, although there was still weakness in France.

Market-watchers said traders had priced in any reduction in the US stimulus following upbeat data, including on unemployment and economic growth, as well as the expected passage of a bipartisan budget deal through Congress that will avert another government shutdown.

“Over the past week or so, the implied probability of ‘tapering’ by the Fed has increased. The US budget deal and better retail sales for November were some of the catalysts for a change in sentiment towards tapering happening at the December (Fed) meeting,” said analysts at Nomura in a research note.

It added that about 37 percent of polled clients expected the move this month, slightly more than those forecasting a January move.

“It has been priced with a very high probability for one of the next three meetings, and it may not matter greatly if the tapering starts in December, or in January or March.”

In currency deals the dollar clawed back slightly against the yen. It suffered a sell-off Friday after hitting a five-year high of 103.93 yen.

The greenback was at 103.03 yen in early trade, against 103.02 yen late in New York after slipping to 102.62 yen at one point Monday. The euro was quoted at $1.3760 and 141.78 yen against $1.3761 and 141.77 yen.

Oil prices dipped, with New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, down 11 cents at $97.37 in mid-morning trade while Brent North Sea crude for February eased 20 cents to $109.21.

Gold fetched $1,240.50 at 0230 GMT compared with $1,229.05 late Monday.

Source: AFP

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