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Asia: Markets mostly up after Wall St surge


[HONG KONG] Asian markets mostly advanced on Friday following a healthy rally on Wall Street, while Tokyo was supported by a weaker yen.

The euro remained a target for buying after this week's upbeat eurozone growth data and despite Greece's struggles to hammer out a debt reform deal with creditors.

Tokyo climbed 0.60 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.36 per cent and Sydney gained 0.50 per cent while Seoul was flat and Shanghai 1.05 per cent.

The three main indexes in New York each tacked on more than one percent Thursday as expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates have fizzled in the wake of a string of soft economic indicators.

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Figures showing the US producer price index fell 0.4 percent last month more than wiped out March's first increase since October and fell well short of forecasts for a 0.2 per cent rise. That came a day after news that retails sales saw their weakest year-on-year growth since 2009.

The results follow other poor recent indicators - including anaemic wage growth, a tepid manufacturing sector and weak economic growth - have overshadowed a tightening of the labour market analysts mostly say will likely keep the Fed from raising rates soon.

In US trade the S&P 500 rose 1.08 per cent to end at a new record high, while the Dow rallied 1.06 per cent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.39 per cent.

Despite lending rates tipped to remain at record lows for the time being the dollar ticked higher Friday.

In morning trade the greenback bought 119.43 yen against 119.19 yen in New York.

The euro bought US$1.1410 and 136.28 yen against US$1.1414 and 136.04 yen in US trade.

The single currency has been buoyed this week by news the eurozone economy met expectations and grew 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, up from 0.3 per cent in the previous three months.

However, market-watchers remain nervous about Greece's plodding talks with creditors on overhauling its bailout.

The country's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has warned it could run out of money by the end of the month if it does not reach a deal that unlocks billions of dollars in much-needed cash to service its debts and avert a default.

There are worries a default could set in motion Greece's eventual ejection from the eurozone, which would ripple around the world.

Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 16 cents to US$59.72 while Brent crude for June gained four cents to US$66.74.

Gold fetched US$1,219.05 from US$1,218.82 late Wednesday.