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Asia: Shares follow Wall St higher after China surge

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Asian shares mainly rose on Tuesday, tracking gains on Wall Street and following a surge in Shanghai the previous day fuelled by speculation China plans to overhaul its state-owned enterprises.

[HONG KONG] Asian shares mainly rose on Tuesday, tracking gains on Wall Street and following a surge in Shanghai the previous day fuelled by speculation China plans to overhaul its state-owned enterprises.

Tokyo gained 0.54 per cent at the open, Hong Kong climbed 1.11 per cent and Seoul added 0.81 per cent, while Sydney dipped 0.65 per cent.

Shanghai added 0.15 per cent after surging Monday on news Beijing is making fresh moves to support equities and hopes for an overhaul of the country's inefficient government-backed companies.

The rise in equities, which closed up almost five percent, marked the broadest rally in Chinese shares in history, analysts said, with only two out of some 1,400 listed companies falling.

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The news followed disappointing trade and inflation data from Asia's largest economy over the weekend, which spurred hopes in some corners that Beijing will also unleash fresh monetary stimulus.

"One of the biggest fears in the marketplace is not so much the Fed, it's the slowdown in China," Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income for National Alliance Capital Markets, told Bloomberg News.

"If all of a sudden people think the Chinese are going to have serious stimulus, that's going to turn things around."

Asian shares got a strong lead from Wall Street, where a rise in oil prices propelled petroleum-linked stocks higher while news of a major acquisition by Warren Buffett cheered dealers.

Berkshire Hathaway said it will buy Precision Castparts, a maker of complex metal components for the aerospace, chemical processing and oil and gas industries, for US$37.2 billion.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.39 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 jumped 1.28 per cent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.16 per cent.

But some investors such as Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager at Pengana Capital in Melbourne, warned the "current euphoria" in equities could be short-lived.

"We're dealing with an increased likelihood that the Fed will start raising rates in September... How the market contends with that is problematic," he told Bloomberg News.

Market expectations for a US rate rise next month were given a boost Friday by solid jobs data, but they were tempered by warnings from a central bank official that low inflation still poses a risk.

US Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer's remarks helped push down the dollar, which continued its slide on Tuesday. It changed hands at 124.64 yen in Tokyo against 124.72 yen in New York late Monday.

The euro was flat at US$1.1019 while firming to 137.34 yen compared with 137.31 yen in US trade.

Oil dipped after adding more than two percent on Monday as dealers eyed the latest US energy report for clues about demand in the world's top crude consumer.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 20 US cents to US$44.76 while Brent crude for September eased 18 US cents to US$50.23.

Gold fetched US$1,103.60 compared to US$1,094.78 late Monday.

AFP

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