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Asia: Stocks mixed after Wall St record, Tokyo recovers


[HONG KONG] Asian markets were mixed Tuesday, with Tokyo leading gainers on bargain-buying after the previous day's sell-off, while Wall Street provided some support with another record close.

Hong Kong and Shanghai extended their previous day's losses, despite a new trading link-up between the two exchanges.

Tokyo - which lost almost three percent Monday on news Japan's economy was in recession - jumped 1.83 per cent. Seoul added 1.04 per cent.

Hong Kong eased 0.10 per cent and Shanghai was off 0.15 per cent, while Sydney dipped 0.19 per cent.

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Focus is on the next move by Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after data Monday showed the economy was in recession, hammered by a sales tax hike in April.

Analysts now expect him to delay another sales tax rise due in October and call a snap election as he tries to bolster support within his own party ahead of a planned leadership poll next year.

"Investors now overwhelmingly expect the government to dissolve the lower house of parliament and put off the 2015 consumption tax hike," Shunichi Otsuka, general manager of research and strategy at Ichiyoshi Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

News of the recession initially sent the dollar soaring above 117 yen for the first time since mid-2007 before it sank below 116 yen in Asia.

But the greenback clawed back most of its losses to end Monday at 116.63 yen in New York. On Tuesday in Tokyo it was at 116.67 yen.

The euro edged up against the dollar after sinking Monday in response to comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi that the lender is ready to step up its asset purchases to counter ultra low inflation.

The single currency bought US$1.2464 and 145.36 yen compared with US$1.2448 and 145.19 yen.

US markets took the Japan figures in their stride. The S&P 500 rose 0.07 per cent to a new record, while the Dow also gained 0.07 per cent but fell just short of another all-time high. The Nasdaq fell 0.37 per cent.

In Hong Kong and Shanghai investors sold up for a second day after data showed new home sales in China fell again in October. Increasing weakness in the property sector has been partly blamed for the slowdown in the world's number two economy and key driver of global growth.

And for a second day mainlanders are largely staying away from investing in Hong Kong after the opening of the cross-exchange Connect scheme Monday.

The tie-up allows international investors to trade selected stocks on Shanghai's tightly restricted exchange and let mainland investors buy shares in Hong Kong.

However, while dealers in Hong Hong bought up their quota of mainland shares Monday, China-based dealers kept their money at home.

Oil prices fell on dimming expectations that the OPEC oil cartel will cut output, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell 24 cents to US$75.40 while Brent crude for January was down 44 cents at US$78.87.

Gold was at US$1,184.09 an ounce, compared with US$1,186.55 late Monday.