Asian markets mostly up in quiet trade
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Nov 23 AFP
November 23 2012, 10:01PM
Asian markets are mostly up following a rally in the previous session, while dealers await another meeting on Greece's bailout and the resumption of talks on the US fiscal cliff.
Trade was subdued on Friday with Japanese markets closed for a public holiday and the United States celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Sydney ended flat, dipping 0.10 points to 4,413.0 while Seoul gained 0.62 per cent, or 11.83 points, to close at 1,911.33.
Hong Kong added 0.79 per cent, or 170.78 points, to end at 21,913.98 and Shanghai closed up 0.58 per cent, or 11.77 points, at 2,027.38.
One dealer said jitters would likely have set in over upcoming negotiations between Democrats and Republicans to hammer out a deal on the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts that comes into effect on January 1.
"I think next week the market will face the reality that there's still a lot of work to do on the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets in Australia.
Global markets have soared over the past week on hopes a compromise will be found in Washington that will avert the fiscal cliff, which will likely send the economy into recession if it comes into effect.
The euro was holding onto recent gains against the dollar as dealers remain confident eurozone finance ministers will agree to release the next batch of bailout cash to Athens when they meet on Monday, after a hold-up in talks this week.
Sentiment was also boosted by comments on Thursday from French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici that a deal on Greek debt would be reached.
"We seem to be poised to fulfill the conditions for a lasting exit from the eurozone crisis," Moscovici told France's Senate after returning from the failed talks in Brussels.
He said although politicians failed to reach a deal this week, "we will as of Monday".
The single currency bought $1.2905 in Asian trade, compared with $1.2875 in London on Thursday while it was also at 106.25 yen from 106.22 yen.
Investors brushed off a closely-watched survey by research firm Markit showing the region's manufacturing activity in November little changed from lows experienced in October.
Markit's eurozone Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for November stood at 45.8 points, from 45.7 in October, which was the lowest since June 2009.
"For the fourth quarter of 2012 so far, PMI data suggest the strongest contraction of output since the second quarter of 2009," Markit said in a report.
The dollar was at 82.32 yen, from 82.42 yen.
Trading on foreign exchange markets was quiet owing to Japan's public holiday but the yen was still under pressure on expectations the country's central bank will unveil a new round of monetary easing next month.
Investors began selling the unit last week after the man likely to become prime minister after a December 16 general election said he would push for unlimited loosening of monetary policy by the bank.
Regional traders were also drawing support from Thursday's release of preliminary data by HSBC showing Chinese manufacturing activity grew for the first time in 13 months in November.
On oil markets New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January shed 27 cents to $87.20 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for January delivery fell 25 cents to $110.30.
Gold was at $1,734.47 at 1030 GMT compared with $1,729.27 late on Thursday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei rose 220.25 points, or 3.1 per cent, to 7,326.01.
TSMC rose 4.6 per cent to Tw$95.5 while HTC was 1.48 per cent higher at Tw$240.0.
-- Manila closed 0.71 per cent higher, adding 38.97 points to 5,552.34.
Philippine National Bank jumped 3.37 per cent to 84.30 pesos while Bank of the Philippine Islands rose 3.11 per cent to 92.80 pesos.
On Wednesday, trading in both banks were suspended for a day when it was announced they were in talks for a merger. No developments have yet been announced.
-- Wellington increased 11.12 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4,008.33.
Fletcher Building was up 1.9 per cent to NZ$7.99, Chorus rose 1.5 per cent to NZ$3.30 and The Warehouse gained 1.3 per cent to NZ$3.19.
-- Singapore closed up 0.09 per cent, or 2.65 points, at 2,989.28.
DBS Bank fell 0.07 per cent to Sg$13.88 and Singapore Telecom was unchanged at Sg$3.14.
-- Kuala Lumpur fell 4.23 points, or 0.26 per cent, to end at 1,614.32.
Axeiata Group lost 0.7 per cent to 5.83 ringgit, while Telekom Malaysia shed 0.6 per cent to 5.37.
-- Bangkok gained 0.17 per cent, or 2.19 points, to 1,281.70.
Coal producer Banpu edged up 2.19 per cent to 374.00 baht, while Siam Cement dropped 1.02 per cent to 390.00 baht.
-- Jakarta ended up 12.88 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 4,348.81.
Food manufacturer Indofood Sukses Makmur rose 1.74 per cent to 5,850 rupiah while miner Aneka Tambang gained 1.63 per cent to 1,250 rupiah.
-- Mumbai was flat, dropping 10.77 points to 18,506.57.
Infosys was down 0.37 per cent at 2,376.00 rupees while Mahindra & Mahindra was down 0.02 per cent at 954.15 rupees.