Asian markets mixed

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IOL pic july7 market arrows . Photo: Filomena Scalise

Tokyo - Asian markets were mixed on Friday following another record on Wall Street, while the euro dug in against the dollar and yen after rebounding from multi-month lows.

Investors were still upbeat after Thursday's strong manufacturing data from China as well as the eurozone, which lifted hopes for the global economy.

Tokyo rose 0.57 percent, Hong Kong dipped 0.11 percent after three successive gains, Shanghai was 0.31 percent higher and Seoul advanced 0.22 percent. Sydney eased 0.27 percent.

In New York the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high for the second straight session after data showed new claims for US unemployment insurance slid to an eight-year low last week.

The news is the latest sign that the recovery in the world's top economy is well on track.

However, the Commerce Department released figures showing sales of new single-family houses fell 8.1 percent in June, tempering the positive vibe. While the S&P 500 ended marginally higher the Dow and Nasdaq dipped slightly.

On currency markets the euro bought 137.06 yen in Asian morning trade, against 137.07 yen in New York and much stronger than the 136.55 yen in Tokyo Thursday.

The single currency also fetched $1.3465 on Friday against $1.3464 in US trade. It had tumbled to an eight-month low of $1.3445 on Thursday in Asia.

The unit had taken a hit this week owing to fears about the knock-on effect of planned fresh sanctions against Moscow for its support of anti-government rebels in Ukraine who the US blame for shooting down a Malaysian airliner last week.

But it rebounded Thursday after private research firm Markit said its index of manufacturing activity in the region jumped in July.

The firm's purchasing managers index (PMI) hit 54 this month, preliminary figures show, compared with 52.8 in June. A figure above 50 points to growth in the sector while anything below suggests contraction.

However, Markit warned that the crisis in Ukraine was still clouding the outlook.

In other foreign exchange deals the dollar was 101.78 yen, a tad down from 101.81 yen in New York but well up from 101.47 yen in Tokyo earlier on Thursday.

Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery was down two cents to $102.05 a barrel in mid-morning trade and Brent crude rose eight cents to $107.15.

Gold fetched $1,292.29 an ounce by 02h20 GMT compared with $1,298.30 late on Thursday. - AFP


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