HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed Tuesday following a soft lead from Wall Street, while Tokyo tacked on another huge set of gains after last week’s surprise monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.
The dollar eased a touch after racing above 114 yen for the first time in seven years, while the euro edged higher from the previous day’s two-year lows against the dollar.
Tokyo, which surged more than four per cent at the open, ended 2.73 per cent higher, adding 448.71 points to 16,862.47, while Sydney rose 0.24 per cent, or 13.0 points, to close at 5,519.9. Shanghai finished marginally higher, adding 0.65 points to 2,430.68.
However, Seoul slipped 0.91 per cent, or 17.78 points, to 1,935.19 and Hong Kong gave up 0.29 per cent, or 70.31 points, to close at 23,845.66.
Japanese traders returned from a long weekend for the first time since Friday’s central bank announcement that it would add up to 20 trillion yen ($176 billion) to its asset-buying scheme in a bid to kick-start the economy and avert a recession. That sent the Nikkei almost five per cent higher and the yen plunging against the dollar.
On Tuesday Tokyo’s markets resumed their buying spree.
“US markets’ positive reaction (Friday) to the BoJ’s announcement adds all the more fervour to suddenly bullish Japan stock enthusiasm,” Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The prospect of even more yen being pumped into the market sent it tumbling Friday, and this week extended those losses.
In late trade Tuesday the dollar sat at 113.63 yen. In New York it ended at 113.99 yen after breaking 114 yen for the first time since late 2007.
The weaker yen boosted exporters, among them Sony, which surged 11.05 per cent and Panasonic, which jumped almost six per cent.
On other forex trade the euro was at $1.2505, against $1.2484 in New York, where at one point it sank to $1.2449 in response to another soft batch of eurozone manufacturing data.
The single currency was at 142.08 yen against 142.31 yen, although it was well up from the 140 yen level before the BoJ announcement.
On Wall Street Monday the three main indexes ended mixed after a rise in October manufacturing activity was offset by profit-taking and weaker-than-expected construction spending figures.
The Dow eased 0.14 per cent, the S&P 500 was flat and the Nasdaq edged up 0.18 per cent.
Oil prices extended losses following reports that Saudi Arabia was slashing its export prices for the US market while hiking them for Asia.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell $1.26 to $77.52 in afternoon trade, a more than two-year low. Brent crude for December was down $1.38 at $83.40, its lowest for four years.
The price of gold fell to $1,165.18 an ounce from $1,172.85 late Monday.