- POSTED: 27 Sep 2013 20:13
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Asian markets mostly rose on Friday following a bounce on Wall Street that was fuelled by better-than-forecast US jobs data.
HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Friday following a bounce on Wall Street that was fuelled by better-than-forecast US jobs data.
However, trading is tentative as US lawmakers remain unable to reach agreement over a budget just days before a deadline kicks in that could see parts of the federal government shut down.
Tokyo fell 0.26 per cent, or 39.05 points, to 14,760.07 but Hong Kong rose 0.35 per cent, or 82.01 points, to 23,207.04.
Sydney added 0.24 per cent, or 12.6 points, to 5,307.1, while Seoul closed 0.22 per cent higher, adding 4.48 points to 2,011.80. Shanghai rose 0.20 per cent, or 4.29 points, to 2,160.03.
On Wall Street Thursday, the Dow and S&P enjoyed their first rises since September 19, when they hit fresh record highs.
US investors were cheered by data from the Labor Department showing new claims for unemployment benefits sank by 5,000 to 305,000 last week, beating forecasts of a rise to 325,000.
And while pending home sales fell 1.6 per cent last month, it was better than the 2.3 per cent fall expected.
The Dow advanced 0.36 per cent, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.35 per cent and the Nasdaq was 0.70 per cent higher.
The gains came despite growing tensions on Capitol Hill, where Republicans and Democrats are locked in yet another stand-off over government funding as the Monday night deadline approaches.
With Democrats refusing to agree to Republican demands that President Barack Obama's healthcare bill be cut back, there are fears that hundreds of thousands of US state employees will be sent home from Tuesday.
More critical, though, is a looming row over the US debt ceiling, which must be raised before mid-October, when the government runs out of money to pay its bills.
If the spending limit is not hiked, Washington would be unable to service its debt obligations and in turn default. A similar stand-off in 2011 sent global markets sliding and led to a historic downgrade of the country's AAA sovereign rating by Standard & Poor's.
In currency trading, the dollar bought 98.54 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade, compared with 98.94 yen late in New York. The euro was at $1.3500 from $1.3488, while it also fetched 133.02 yen against 133.48 yen.
Japanese shares had rallied on Thursday on reports that the government was considering a cut to corporation tax to offset an expected hike in sales tax.
However, the Nikkei was unable to add to those gains on Friday after Finance Minister Taro Aso threw into question a timeline for any business tax cuts, which he described as a "long-term issue".
Traders were unmoved by Japanese data showing inflation at a five-year high as most of the increase was driven by higher fuel bills. Energy imports soared in the wake of the Fukushima atomic disaster in 2011, forcing the shutdown of Japan's nuclear reactors.
On oil markets, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, dipped 58 cents to $102.45, while Brent North Sea crude for November was down 45 cents at $108.76.
Gold cost $1,324.60 at 1045 GMT compared with $1,335.92 on Thursday.
In other markets, Wellington added 0.36 per cent, or 17.21 points, to 4,782.68, Taipei rose 0.56 per cent, or 46.0 points, to 8,230.68, Manila fell 0.43 per cent, or 27.65 points, to 6,379.81, and Bangkok slipped 0.51 per cent, or 7.27 points, to 1,417.49.
Singapore closed up 0.50 per cent, or 15.87 points, at 3,210.18, Jakarta rose 0.40 per cent, or 17.83 points, to 4,423.72, Kuala Lumpur gained 0.11 per cent, or 2.00 points, to 1776.16, and Mumbai fell 0.84 per cent, or 166.58 points, to 19,727.27.