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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Asian shares rise after new Wall St record

Asia’s markets rose on Thursday following a record-breaking close on Wall Street as investors welcomed fresh positive US data and an upbeat Federal Reserve report on the economy.

The dollar also resumed its uptrend against the yen, providing more impetus to Japanese exporter stocks, while the Australian dollar sank against the greenback in response to a weak jobs report.

Tokyo added 0.26 percent, Hong Kong was 0.35 percent higher, Sydney gained 0.82 percent and Seoul rose 0.17 percent while Shanghai was up 0.19 percent.

Investor confidence was given a boost by an all-time high close for the S&P 500 — its first record of the new year — after a positive report on the US economy from the Federal Reserve.

The central bank said in its “Beige Book” that the economy grew at a “moderate” pace across most regions at the end of 2013, with muted price and wage rises.

The survey, covering the end of November and December, showed hiring in most areas was slow but steady, “with few instances of rapid growth but very few reports of staff cuts or plant closings”.

Also Thursday the New York Federal Reserve bank said manufacturing activity picked up in New York state during December, while the Labor Department said its producer price index rose 0.4 percent in same month, slightly above estimates.

The news came a day after better-than-expected data on December retail sales and helped to soothe concerns about the economy after Friday’s worse-than-forecast jobs report.

On Wall Street the S&P 500 climbed 0.52 percent to a fresh record high of 1,848.38, while the Dow gained 0.66 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.76 percent.

Currency traders moved back into the dollar after being scared off by the surprisingly weak US payrolls figures last week.

In early trade the greenback bought 104.70 yen compared with 104.59 yen late in New York and well up from the 104.40 yen in Asia earlier Wednesday.

The euro bought $1.3619 and 142.59 yen early Thursday compared with $1.3606 and 142.29 yen

The dollar also jumped against its Australian counterpart after Canberra released data showing the unemployment rate was unmoved but the economy shed 22,600 jobs in December.

The Australian dollar fell to 88.05 US cents, a three-year low, from 89.03 cents on Wednesday as the weak figures increased the likelihood the central bank will cut interest rates to kickstart a stuttering economy.

Oil prices were holding steady in mid-morning Asian trade Thursday, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February up five cents at $94.22 and Brent North Sea crude for February hovering around its previous close of $107.13.

Gold fetched $1,240.10 at 0220 GMT compared with $1,239.10 late Wednesday.

Source: AFP

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