Asian markets rebound, weaker yen lifts Nikkei
Asian markets mostly rose on Wednesday following recent losses despite a fall on Wall Street at the start of the US corporate earnings season.
The dollar and euro also picked up against the yen, providing strong support for the Nikkei index.
Tokyo rose 0.49 per cent by the break, Hong Kong gained 0.51 per cent, Sydney was 0.39 per cent higher and Seoul was up 0.10 per cent but Shanghai was 0.20 per cent off.
Regional markets bounced back after a recent sell-off fuelled by profit-taking but traders were given a negative lead from Wall Street despite a positive start to the earnings season.
Aluminium giant Alcoa posted a profit of US$242 million in the three months to December, compared with a year-earlier loss of US$191 million.
The company also stayed in the black for the full year, despite aluminium prices falling 12 per cent.
However, the Dow fell 0.41 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.32 per cent and the Nasdaq shed 0.23 per cent.
With immediate fiscal worries at bay after the United States last week dodged across-the-board tax hikes and automatic spending cuts, dealers are looking for fresh cues to spur buying.
On Thursday and Friday Beijing will release data on key indicators including inflation and trade, with hopes rising that the world’s number two economy will show further signs of emerging from its recent slowdown.
On currency markets the yen weakened as importers and retail investors bought the euro and dollar for overseas purchases.
The dollar bought 87.31 yen in Asian trade, from 86.97 yen in New York late Tuesday.
The euro also slipped to 114.28 yen from 113.75, while sitting at US$1.3081 from US$1.3079.
Oil prices were mixed, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, dropping a cent to US$93.14 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for February delivery gained 10 cents to US$112.04.
Gold was at US$1,658.11 at 0250 GMT compared with US$1,653.49 late Tuesday.