Asian markets rise, yen weakens
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HONG KONG, Nov 30 AFP
November 30 2012, 9:12PM
Asian markets have mostly climbed after data showed the US economy grew more than first expected in the third quarter while traders remain upbeat a deal will be made on averting the fiscal cliff.
The yen eased further against the dollar and euro on Friday after the Japanese government announced a huge spending spree to kickstart the economy just weeks before a general election.
Tokyo closed 0.48 per cent, or 45.13 points, higher at 9,446.01, Sydney ended up 0.63 per cent, or 28.3 points, at 4,506.0 but Seoul finished 0.10 per cent, or 1.95 points, lower at 1,932.90, reversing early day gains.
Hong Kong closed 0.49 per cent higher adding 107.50 points to 22,030.39, while Shanghai was up 0.85 per cent, or 16.63 points, at 1,980.12.
The US Commerce Department said on Thursday the economy grew 2.7 per cent in the three months to September, faster than the 2.0 per cent first estimated, reflecting in part increases in government spending and private inventory investment.
However, growth in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of output, was revised down to 1.4 per cent, just slightly above the second-quarter pace.
Also, jobless claims fell back to 393,000 in the most recent week, the Labour Department said on Thursday.
The figures provide a general view that the country is gradually getting back on its feet, which will have a positive knock-on effect for the global economy.
Lawmakers in Washington are locked in tough talks on averting the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts to come into effect on January 1, which could tip the economy back into recession.
But while Republican House Speaker John Boehner has rejected as "ridiculous" President Barack Obama's first proposal to cut the country's deficit, investors are broadly confident a deal will be achieved by the end of the year.
Wall Street's main indexes finished in positive territory for a second straight day. The Dow was up 0.28 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.43 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.68 per cent.
On currency markets, traders sold the yen further after reports said the cabinet of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda approved a $US10.7 billion ($A10.30 billion) stimulus ahead of December 16 polls that his ruling party is expected to lose.
The yen has taken a hit this month after Shinzo Abe, the leader of the opposition and the man expected to become prime minister after the vote, said he would push a more aggressive monetary easing policy.
In the afternoon the dollar rose to Y82.58 from Y82.10 in late Thursday New York trade, while the euro bought Y107.46, compared with Y106.58. It was also at $US1.3012, from $US1.2978.
The dollar is up 3.5 per cent against the yen in November, while the euro has risen 3.3 per cent.
Also providing a little support to Tokyo shares was news of a surprise rise in Japan's factory output for October.
Production grew 1.8 per cent from the previous month, the first rise in four months and beating an average market forecast of a 2.2 per cent drop.
On oil markets, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was down 21 US cents to $US87.86 a barrel in the morning, and Brent North Sea crude for January dropped 10 US cents to $US110.66.
Gold was at $US1,729.50 at 1910 AEDT, compared with $US1,724.60 late on Thursday.
In other markets:
- Taipei rose 1.02 per cent, or 76.62 points, to 7,580.17.
HTC was up 2.7 per cent at $Tw266.0 while TSMC gained 2.28 per cent to $Tw98.7.
- Wellington rose 0.83 per cent, or 33.32 points, to 4,050.09
Fletcher Building up 1.41 per cent at $N$7.92, Chorus rising 1.8 per cent to $NZ3.40 and Telecom Corp down 1.70 per cent at $NZ2.31.
- Manila was closed for a public holiday.
By Danny McCord