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Asia: Stocks mostly up after Wall St records

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[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday after US shares tapped fresh records for a fourth straight session, while a weaker yen helped Japan's Nikkei extend its recent rally.

Tokyo rose 0.61 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.27 per cent, Seoul put on 0.12 per cent and Shanghai gained 0.40 per cent. Sydney was 0.23 per cent lower.

Wall Street continued its impressive run Monday, adding to Friday's gains after data showed jobs creation was healthy in October and the unemployment rate hit a six-year low.

The figures were the latest indicating the world's top economy is on the path to recovery, with investors now keen to find out when the Federal Reserve plans to increase interest rates.

The Dow rose 0.23 per cent and the S&P 500 added 0.31 per cent, both hitting records for a fourth successive session, while the Nasdaq was up 0.41 per cent.

In Tokyo the Nikkei resumed its uptrend as the yen dipped against the dollar, with analysts forecasting the index will march on through the rest of the year after the Bank of Japan's stimulus injection last month.

The dollar was at 114.70 yen, down from 114.83 yen in New York but well up from 114.16 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.

The euro bought US$1.2434 compared with US$1.2420, while it was also at 142.67 yen against 142.62 yen.

Also proving support to Tokyo stocks is Japan's US$1.26-trillion public pension fund - the world's biggest - which said last month it would double the amount of equities in its investment portfolio, as it seeks higher returns to cope with a rapidly ageing population.

Daiwa Securities senior strategist Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi told Dow Jones Newswires he expects the Nikkei will climb to the 18,000 mark from its present level around 16,900.

Oil prices extended losses in Asian trade as investors mulled the dimming prospects for an OPEC output cut despite abundant global supplies, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell three cents to US$77.37 while Brent crude for December eased 18 cents to US$82.16.

Gold was at US$1,155.22 an ounce, compared with US$1,171.30 late Monday.

AFP