The Business Times

Asia: Markets up on bargain-buying, strong yen hits Tokyo

Published Tue, Oct 14, 2014 · 09:50 PM

[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday on bargain hunting, but Tokyo took a thumping as traders returned from a long weekend to a much stronger yen.

The broad gains came despite another heavy sell-off on Wall Street fuelled by global growth concerns, while oil prices remain stuck at multi-year lows owing to demand woes as well as fears of a supply glut.

Tokyo tumbled 1.77 per cent - but Hong Kong was 0.48 per cent higher, Sydney added 1.07 per cent, Seoul gained 0.31 per cent and Shanghai was up 0.11 per cent.

Global markets have been struggling of late as a string of weak data from Japan, China and the eurozone has fanned fears about the global economy, while the Federal Reserve also said it was concerned about the outlook.

And on Wall Street the three main indexes were hard hit as investors fled.

The Dow sank 1.35 per cent and the S&P 500 shed 1.65 per cent - just weeks after the two had touched record highs. The Nasdaq lost 1.46 per cent.

But Tuesday saw investors tentatively return to buying, picking up cheaper stocks.

The dollar also picked up slightly after tumbling below 107 yen in New York on Monday.

The greenback bought 107.21 yen early Tuesday, up from 106.83 yen in New York Monday afternoon. However, that was not enough to support the Nikkei as it is still sharply down from 107.79 yen in Tokyo on Friday, before a three-day weekend.

"Most of the Nikkei's gains over the last several weeks have come on the back of the dollar's rapid rise without much fundamental buying support behind it, so a dramatic reversal such as this is possible, if not likely, when the dollar falls back to earth," Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The euro bought US$1.2721 and 136.35 yen against US$1.2753 and 136.25 yen.

World oil prices extended their losses after the OPEC cartel signalled that producers have no intention of cutting output, even with a supply glut.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was down 63 cents to US$85.11 in mid-morning Asian trade, and Brent crude for November eased 65 cents to US$88.24.

Gold was at US$1,235.23 an ounce against US$1,227.19 late Monday. - AFP

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