Asia shares mostly up

Asia shares mostly up
Published: 18 November 2013
Hong Kong - Asian markets mostly rose on Monday, adding to last week's gains, with Hong Kong and Shanghai boosted by China's reforms aimed at giving private firms a greater role in the economy.

Traders were given another strong lead from Wall Street, where the Dow and S&P 500 closed Friday at record highs for the third straight session. The dollar maintained its recent gains against the yen.

Tokyo ended flat, giving up earlier gains following a 4% rise over the previous two sessions. The Nikkei edged down 1.62 points to 15 164.30.

But Shanghai jumped 2.87%, or 61.39 points, to 2 197.22 and in the afternoon Hong Kong was up 2.61%.

Seoul rose 0.26%, or 5.17 points, to close at 2 010.81 but Sydney slipped 0.31%, or 17.0 points, to 5 384.7.

Traders were cheered after China on Friday released a blueprint for restructuring the world's number two economy that pledged to open up the financial sector and relax restrictions on investment.

It also said leaders planned to improve the country's initial public offering system to adopt a more market-oriented approach.

A document issued by the official Xinhua news agency said state firms would be made to pay larger dividends to the government, while private companies would be allowed a bigger role.

The plans provided some relief to traders who had been left disappointed on Tuesday when the Communist Party's "Third Plenum" political meeting ended with merely a vague communique.

Buying sentiment was also lifted by comments from the woman tipped to take over as the next Federal Reserve chief, which indicated she would keep its stimulus programme in place for the time being.

Janet Yellen told senators reviewing her nomination that growth was still too fragile and unemployment too high to begin cutting the bond-buying scheme, which has provided much-needed support to the economy.

Despite expectations the Fed will continue pumping $85bn a month into financial markets, the greenback extended gains against the yen.

In afternoon trade it bought ¥100.13, up from ¥100.12 in New York Friday, while the euro fetched $1.3498 against $1.3493. The single currency was also at ¥135.08 from ¥135.16.

The Yellen comments helped shares on Wall Street. The Dow gained 0.54% on Friday and the S&P 500 added 0.42% - both ending at record highs - while the Nasdaq was up 0.33%.

In oil trade, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December, fell 28 cents to $93.56. Brent North Sea crude for January was down 40 cents at $108.10.

Gold fetched $1 286.06 per ounce at 09:00 compared with $1 282.81 on Friday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.18%, or 14.34 points, to 8 191.46.

Circuits design house MediaTek rose 0.85% to Tw$414.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was flat at Tw$104.00.

-- Wellington fell 0.45%, or 22.04 points, to 4 892.04.

Telecoms giant Chorus was down 5.24% at NZ$1.90, Fletcher Building slipped 0.7% to NZ$9.46 and Telecom was up 0.66% at NZ$2.31.
- AFP
Tags: Asia, Shares,

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