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Asia shares up after record close on Wall Street

Asian markets resumed their upward trend on Wednesday following another record-breaking close on Wall Street, where strong economic data buoyed sentiment as investors returned from a long weekend.

HONG KONG: Asian markets resumed their upward trend on Wednesday following another record-breaking close on Wall Street, where strong economic data buoyed sentiment as investors returned from a long weekend.

The bullish sentiment provided the dollar with support, while the euro remains under pressure on expectations the European Central Bank will announce fresh measures to combat deflation fears.

Tokyo rose 0.24 per cent, or 34.43 points, to finish at 14,670.95, Seoul gained 0.97 per cent, or 19.43 points, to 2,017.06 and Sydney added 0.28 per cent, or 15.5 points, to 5,527.2.

Shanghai climbed 0.77 per cent, or 15.66 points, to 2,050.23 and Hong Kong added 0.59 per cent, or 135.73 points, to 23,080.03.

After the Memorial Day long weekend US shares rallied on Tuesday in response to more data showing the economy is getting back on track.

Independent business research group The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose to 83.0 in May from 81.7 last month. It is also well up from 74.3 a year ago.

Home prices in the US rose 0.9 per cent in March after a February stall caused by severe winter weather, the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed. And the Commerce Department said new orders for US durable goods rose 0.8 per cent in April, a third consecutive pick-up and better than forecasts for a 1.3 per cent fall.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.60 per cent on Tuesday, hitting another record after breaking the 1,900 level for the first time on Friday.

The Dow added 0.42 per cent, while the Nasdaq gained 1.22 per cent.

Eyes are now on the release of revised first-quarter economic growth data on Friday.

In foreign exchange trade the dollar sat at 101.90 yen, compared with 101.96 yen in New York on Tuesday. While the greenback is unable to break the 102 yen barrier it has been supported by the upbeat outlook on the global economy, which has seen investors embrace more risk and move away from the safe-haven Japanese unit.

The euro bought $1.3624 and 138.78 yen against $1.3634 and 139.03 yen.

The single currency has slipped steadily for three weeks as dealers bet the ECB will move to loosen monetary policy when its board meets on June 5.

Nobel laureate and economist Paul Krugman urged the ECB on Tuesday to raise its 2.0 inflation target.

"I am well aware that any proposal for a rise in the inflation target is greeted with extreme scepticism by central bankers," Krugman said at an ECB forum on monetary policy in Sintra, near the Portuguese capital Lisbon.

"If the two per cent target was defendable in the 1990s, it's likely not to be adequate in the future," he said.

Oil prices were mixed. The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July, rose 12 cents to $104.23 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for July gained 21 cents to $110.23 per barrel.

Gold fetched $1,265.08 an ounce at 1040 GMT compared with $1,283.05 late on Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Mumbai rose just 0.03 per cent or 6.58 points to 24,556.09 points.

Power Finance shares were up 8.25 per cent at 318.30 rupees and Jet Airways was down 8.5 per cent at 245.35 rupees.

-- Bangkok added 0.72 per cent or 10.06 points to 1,402.79.

Thai Airways International gained 3.82 per cent to 13.60 baht, while oil company Bangchak Petroleum rose 2.52 per cent to 30.50 baht.

-- Kuala Lumpur's main stock index added 4.09 points or 0.22 per cent to 1,871.66.

IJM Corporation ended 3.8 per cent higher at 6.85 ringgit while Public Bank rose 2.1 per cent to 20.48. Bumi Armada fell 2.4 per cent to 3.64 ringgit.

-- Singapore's Straits Times Index dropped 0.07 per cent, or 2.22 points, to 3,271.84.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation eased 0.31 per cent to S$9.63 while real estate developer Capitaland gained 1.27 per cent to S$3.18.

-- Jakarta closed up 0.44 per cent, or 21.65 points, at 4,985.58.

State miner Aneka Tambang rose 0.82 per cent to 1,230 rupiah, while telecommunication operator Indosat lost 0.12 per cent to 4,035 rupiah.

-- Taipei put on 0.73 per cent, or 66.42 points, to 9,121.71.

Hon Hai edged up 0.65 per cent to NT$93.4 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.4 per cent higher at NT$124.0.

-- Wellington rose 0.69 per cent, or 35.61 points, to 5,181.46.

Fletcher Building was up 0.55 per cent at NZ$9.18 and Air New Zealand added 0.23 per cent to NZ$2.165.

-- Manila rose 0.11 per cent, or 7.62 points, to 6,787.88.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. edged up 0.07 per cent to 2,896 pesos while Megaworld gained 0.87 per cent to 4.64 pesos.

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