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Most Asia markets fall but Tokyo rallies

Mar 28 2016 12:00

Hong Kong - The dollar extended a recent recovery on Monday and Japanese stocks climbed as a better-than-expected jump in US growth raised the prospect of another Federal Reserve rate hike, but Asia's other markets succumbed to afternoon selling.

After the turmoil of January and February, investor confidence has been broadly positive over the past month thanks to a string of central banks easing measures across the world and improving economic figures.

On Friday the US Commerce Department said the world's number one economy grew 1.4% in the final three months of 2015, much faster than the 1.0% initially recorded.

The increase came on the back of a surge in consumer spending, which was also much stronger than first thought.

The news ramped up expectations that the Federal Reserve will announce another hike in interest rates, providing some support to the dollar against the yen and euro.

In early trade on Monday the greenback bought ¥113.53 compared with ¥113.00 on Friday.

The US unit had tumbled below ¥111 earlier this month after the Fed lowered its outlook for interest rate rises this year, citing the possible impact on the US of a slowdown in the world economy.

"We're now more conscious that there's strength in the US economy," Yoshinori Ogawa, a market strategist at Okasan Securities, told Bloomberg News.

The weaker yen lifted Japanese exporters, helping the Nikkei 0.8% higher by the close.

Markets in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand were closed for the Easter break.

However, markets in the rest of Asia reversed morning gains to end lower. Seoul was 0.1% off and Taipei fell 0.2%, while Singapore, Manila and Jakarta were deep in negative territory.

Shanghai closed 0.7% lower, having started on a high after official figures this weekend showed profits at China's key industrial companies rose almost 5% in January-February, the first increase since mid-2015.

Mainland Chinese shares have recovered 12% since hitting a January low. Investors are hoping for fresh measures from Beijing to kickstart the economy, which is growing at rates not seen for a quarter of a century.

Traders are now awaiting the release of closely watched manufacturing data at the end of the week, hoping for fresh signs of improvement in the Asian economic giant.

Market round-up

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Up 0.8% at 17 134.37 points (close)

Shanghai - Composite: Down 0.7% at 2 957.82 points (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for public holiday

Euro/dollar: Down at $1.1163 from $1.1169 on Friday

Dollar/yen: Up at ¥113.53 from ¥113.00

New York - Dow: Up 0.1% at 17 515.73 points (close)

London - FTSE 100: Down 1.5% at 6 106.48 points (close)

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equities  |  markets  |  asian markets

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