Asian stocks up as world markets firm

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Hong Kong, Aug 16: Asian stocks were mostly higher today (Aug 16), consolidating impressive gains after Wall Street firmed and Europe ended the day in positive territory. Tokyo shut for lunch 0.33 per cent higher, Hong Kong was 0.59 per cent up and Shanghai rose 0.22 per cent. Sydney yo-yoed and was flat by the break.

Seoul, which missed out on the large gains seen in regional markets on Monday because of a national holiday, was making up lost ground on Tuesday, adding 3.88 per cent by mid-morning.

Asia's main bourses recorded a very strong start to the week after a turbulent few days that had seen big falls, with traders scrambling to follow almost any lead.

The positive example set by the region was followed by Europe, where the main bourses all ended the day in the green, and in turn by Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 1.90 per cent; the S&P 500 added 2.18 per cent, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 1.88 per cent.

Wall Street's gain -- the third straight session in which the market ended up -- came as global investors cheered a move by Google to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings.

But the outlook for the Tokyo bourse remains uncertain, with investors still fretting over a painfully strong yen, which is threatening to dampen Japan's recovery from its March 11 quake and tsunami disaster.

A strong currency hits exporters by making their goods more expensive overseas and eroding repatriated profits.

Cosmo Securities strategist Toshikazu Horiuchi said Tokyo shares were "just going along with overseas markets".

On the forex market, the yen remained at near post-WWII highs against the dollar, standing at 76.81 in Tokyo, little changed from 76.83 yen in New York Monday evening. The euro was changing hands at USD 1.4437 and 110.89 yen, compared with USD 1.4440 and 110.95 yen. 

AFP

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