Asian Markets Mixed, Yen Boosts Tokyo
Hong Kong. Asian markets were mixed in limited holiday trade on Monday with Tokyo advancing as the yen weakened against the dollar amid dimming chances of fresh monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve.
Tokyo’s Nikkei index rose 0.61 percent, breaching the 9,200 level for the first time in more than three months as the yen eased against the dollar with dealers shifting away from the safe haven currency.
Hong Kong fell 0.82 percent, Shanghai was down 0.92 percent, while Seoul eased 0.23 percent.
Sydney was flat after several major stocks traded ex-dividend — meaning new buyers are not eligible to receive dividends from the most recent period.
European stocks ended last week higher while US markets closed it out with solid gains, with the Dow hitting its highest level since the last days of 2007 and the S&P 500 just shy of its four-year peak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index ended 0.51 percent higher for the week at 13,275.20. The broader S&P 500 picked up 0.87 percent to 1,418.16, while the Nasdaq gained 1.84 percent to close at 3,076.59.
The dollar strengthened in Asian trade following a raft of economic data for the July-August period that was, if not full of spark, notably not negative, lowering chances of a new round of monetary stimulus.
Consumer prices were flat, jobless claims unchanged, some manufacturing indicators were lower but retail sales improved in the world’s largest economy.
The greenback bought 79.57 yen against 79.55 yen in New York late on Friday, while the euro was worth $1.2321, down from $1.2330 in US trade.
The euro was at 98.06 yen in Tokyo morning trade, from 98.10 yen.
The common European currency’s decline came amid dollar buying on the heels of US economic reports including a new survey released Friday that showed consumers were a little more upbeat than in July.
“The euro/dollar is top-heavy as the dollar is bought,” Junichi Ishikawa, forex analyst at IG Market Securities in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
But the euro is supported by expectations that the European Central Bank would purchase struggling euroz one countries’ sovereign debt following a report in the Germany newsweekly Der Spiegel.
The report on Sunday said that the ECB was considering buying the bonds of crisis-wracked euro zone countries to help contain their borrowing costs.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement last week backing ECB chief Mario Draghi’s position on making sure the euro would not fail also revived hopes of strong action to solve the euro zone debt crisis.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for September delivery was up 16 cents to $96.17 a barrel in morning trade, and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October climbed 48 cents to $114.19.
Gold was at $1,618.20 at 0315 GMT, compared to $1,617.34 on Friday.
Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Singapore and Manila were closed for public holidays.