HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed Thursday, with many indexes reversing early gains as initial cheer from a Wall Street rally was replaced by concerns US interest rates could rise sooner than expected.
Another batch of strong data out of Washington also lit a fire under the dollar, which resumed its surge towards 110 yen while the euro struggled after a disappointing survey of business confidence in Germany.
Tokyo jumped 1.28 per cent, or 206.69 points, at a new seven-year high of 16,374.14 as the yen tumbled, while Sydney added 0.12 per cent, or 6.44 points, to close at 5,382.2, and Shanghai ended slightly higher, edging up 1.53 points to 2,345.10.
However, Seoul ended marginally lower, dipping 1.53 points to 2,034.11 and Hong Kong shed 0.64 per cent, or 153.48 points, to 23,768.13.
Markets got off to a flier after a surge on Wall Street as the US Commerce Department said sales of new single-family houses rose 18 per cent in August to an annual rate of 504,000, their fastest pace since May 2008.
The Dow jumped 0.90 per cent, the S&P 500 rose 0.78 per cent and the Nasdaq rallied 1.03 per cent.
However, the morning euphoria wore off for some investors as they bet the latest results will provide the US Federal Reserve more reason to hike interest rates before its expected mid-2015 estimate.
In foreign exchange trade the dollar also jumped Wednesday in New York to 109.04 yen from 108.57 yen earlier in the day in Asia.
And on Thursday in Tokyo it rose further to 109.30 yen.
The euro bought $1.2723 Thursday, down from $1.2781 in US trade, where it fell through the 1.28 mark for the first time since July 2013. The common currency also bought 138.00 yen, compared with 139.37 yen Wednesday.
On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell eight cents to $92.72 while Brent crude for November eased 10 cents to $96.85 in afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,208.40 an ounce against $1,220.98 an ounce late Wednesday.