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Asia: Stocks mostly up after US data

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Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday following better-than-expected US economic growth data and news that Germany had narrowly averted recession.

[HONG KONG] Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday following better-than-expected US economic growth data and news that Germany had narrowly averted recession.

The dollar struggled to resume its uptrend against the yen, with analysts forecasting the pairing were close to finding their plateau.

Tokyo fell 0.27 per cent owing to the stronger yen, but Hong Kong added 0.13 per cent, Sydney rose 0.87 per cent and Shanghai gained 0.46 per cent. Seoul was flat.

The gains came despite a weak lead from Wall Street, where the Dow and S&P 500 retreated slightly from record highs.

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The US Commerce Department said third-quarter growth came in at to 3.9 per cent, up from a previous estimate of 3.5 per cent and easily beating expectations for 3.2 per cent expansion.

The figures are the latest showing the world's number one economy is on a healthy recovery track, while those in the eurozone and Japan struggle.

However, there was some negative news, with the Conference Board saying consumer confidence dipped in November compared with October. On Wall Street the Dow edged down 0.02 per cent and the S&P 500 retreated 0.12 per cent. However, the Nasdaq added 0.07 per cent.

Also Tuesday Germany released figures showing the eurozone's biggest economy expanded 0.1 per cent in July-September thanks to higher household and government spending.

The data, which comes a day after the first pick-up in business confidence for seven months, means it avoided recession after shrinking 0.1 per cent in the previous three months.

The euro turned higher on the result, sitting at US$1.2473 and 147.18 yen in New York late Tuesday, compared with US$1.2421 and 146.48 yen in Tokyo earlier in the day.

In Tokyo on Wednesday it bought US$1.2467 and 146.85 yen.

In other foreign exchange trade the dollar eased to 117.80 yen Wednesday from 117.97 yen in New York.

The greenback has surged against the yen this month after the Bank of Japan ramped up its stimulus programme on October 31.

But "there is going to be a limit to the dollar's rise, and at some point the currency markets will reach a consolidation point," said Hajime Kitano, Japan equity strategist at Barclays.

The "dollar-yen pair may be poised for a pullback soon," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

And Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities added: "After a consistent string of dollar surges over the last month, we may finally be entering a 'cooling off period' for the greenback - at least against the yen." Oil prices were lower. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January fell 40 cents to US$73.69 while Brent crude for January eased 31 cents to US$78.02.

Gold was at US$1,199.97 an ounce, compared with US$1,200.71 late Tuesday.

AFP

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