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HONG KONG, Jan 23 AFP

January 23 2013, 10:50PM

Most Asian markets have closed lower, in spite of a Wall Street rally.

Tokyo's Nikkei fell 2.08 per cent, or 222.94 points to 10,486.99 on Wednesday and Seoul closed 0.81 per cent lower, losing 16.11 points to 1,980.41, but Sydney rose 0.18 per cent, or 8.7 points, to 4,787.8.

Hong Kong eased 0.1 per cent, shedding 23.89 points to 23,635.10 and Shanghai ended up 0.25 per cent, or 5.77 points, at 2,320.91 thanks to a late rally.

Japan's Nikkei was hit after the central bank said on Tuesday it would fall into line with the new government and set a two per cent inflation target, while also launching an unlimited asset-buying scheme from next year.

The bank also lifted its growth forecast, predicting gross domestic product would expand 2.3 per cent in the year ended March 2014, up from an earlier 1.6 per cent estimate.

But the bank's moves were in line with expectations, which have seen the yen tumble against the dollar and euro, in turn sending equities flying higher.

"The monetary policy announcement came so completely within range of market expectations that it rang as a disappointment," SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires.

The yen began rising soon after Tuesday's announcement and rose further in New York trade. However, it stabilised in Tokyo early on Wednesday.

The greenback - which hit a two-and-a-half-year high of Y90.24 before the Bank of Japan (BoJ) move - bought Y88.36 in afternoon trade, against Y88.68 yen in New York on Tuesday.

The euro - which topped Y120 last week - slipped to Y117.53 on Wednesday, from Y118.14 in New York and to $US1.3298 from $US1.3321.

Regional markets were largely unaffected by healthy gains on Wall Street on Tuesday following a long weekend, thanks to stronger-than-expected earnings results, including from The Travelers Companies and DuPont.

The Dow rose 0.46 per cent, the S&P 500 added 0.44 per cent and the Nasdaq ended up 0.27 per cent.

Oil prices were slightly up, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, up two cents to $US96.70 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery up three cents to $US112.45.

Gold was at $US1,691.66 at 1100 GMT (2200 AEDT) compared with $US1,692.41 late on Tuesday.

In other markets:

- Wellington was flat, edging up 0.64 points to 4,187.72.

Telecom fell 2.1 per cent to NZ$2.32 and Fletcher Building rose 0.5 per cent to NZ$9.34, while Air New Zealand was unchanged at NZ$1.24.

- Manila fell 0.20 per cent, or 12.37 points, to 6,092.53.

- Taipei fell 0.19 per cent, or 14.92 points, to 7,744.18.

Hon Hai Precision was 0.47 per cent lower at Tw$85.0, while HTC shed 2.07 per cent at Tw$283.5.

- Singapore closed up 0.35 per cent, or 11.37 points, to 3,231.23.

Real estate developer Capitaland gained 0.52 per cent to Sg$3.89 and Singapore Airlines gained 1.28 per cent to Sg$11.10.

- Kuala Lumpur gained 6.59 points, or 0.4 per cent, to close at 1,635.25.

Public Bank added 0.6 per cent to 15.70 ringgit, and Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.5 per cent to 21.80. UEM Land Holdings fell 0.5 per cent to 2.14 ringgit.

Jakarta closed up 2.18 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 4,418.73.

- Bank Negara Indonesia rose 1.32 per cent to 3,850 rupiah and mobile phone provider Indosat climbed 0.75 per cent to 6,700 rupiah, while palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari slipped 0.26 per cent to 19,250 rupiah.

Bangkok added 0.36 per cent or 5.11 points to 1,439.20.

- Airports of Thailand jumped 7.58 per cent to 106.50 baht, while telecoms firm True Corp. gained 2.61 per cent to 5.90 baht.

- Mumbai was up 0.23 per cent, or 45.04 points, to 20,026.61.

By Danny McCord