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Asian shares extend gains on Wall St rally, euro sinks

Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday (July 23), adding to the previous day's rally, following a positive lead from Wall Street while concerns over the Ukraine MH17 air crash crisis ease.

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday (July 23), adding to the previous day's rally, following a positive lead from Wall Street while concerns over the Ukraine air crash crisis ease.

The euro was wallowing at multi-month lows against the dollar and yen as the West considers another round of sanctions against Russia for its support of Ukrainian rebels who have been accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Thursday.

Sydney rose 0.6 percent, or 33.41 points, to close at 5,576.7 and Shanghai added 0.15 percent, or 3.01 points, to 2,078.49, while Hong Kong put on 0.80 percent, or 189.76 points, to 23,971.87.

However, Seoul was marginally lower, giving up 0.61 points to finish at 2,028.32 while Tokyo slipped 0.10 percent, or 14.72 points, to 15,328.56 as a stronger yen weighed on exporters.

Global markets rebounded on Tuesday on news that pro-Russian rebels had handed over the black boxes from the Malaysian passenger jet that came down in eastern Ukraine with the loss of almost 300 people.

US shares were given an extra boost by data from the National Association of Realtors that showed sales of existing homes in June accelerated 2.6 percent to their fastest pace since October. The figures are a boon for the economy, with the property sector a key component.

The Dow rose 0.36 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.50 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.71 percent.

Also Tuesday, the Labor Department said inflation slowed to 0.3 percent in June from 0.4 percent in May.

The news will do little to add pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than the expected mid-2015 range. The Fed holds its next policy meeting on July 29-30.

On currency markets, the euro came under pressure as investors worry about the effects of another round of expected sanctions on Russia, which has been blamed with supplying anti-Kiev militants in Ukraine.

With the eurozone heavily reliant on its giant eastern neighbour for energy supplies, there are fears the bloc's already fragile economy could suffer as a result of any new measures against Moscow.

The single currency hit an eight-month low of $1.3458 in Tokyo Wednesday -- down from $1.3463 in New York -- before edging back up to $1.3461.

It also dipped to 136.44 yen -- its lowest since February -- after closing in the US at 136.62 yen in US trade.

The dollar fetched 101.39 yen compared with 101.45 yen in New York.

Oil prices were lower. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery was down 33 cents at $102.06 a barrel in afternoon trade on the contract's first day of trading. Brent crude declined 12 cents to $107.23.

Gold fetched $1,308.20 an ounce by 0810 GMT compared with $1,306.89 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Wellington rose 0.25 percent, or 12.66 points, to 5,146.53.

Telecom was up 1.93 percent at NZ$2.90 and Warehouse Group eased 0.96 percent to NZ$3.08.

-- Manila ended 0.33 percent higher, adding 22.98 points to 6,892.92.

Universal Robina Corp rallied 4.75 percent to 165 pesos as the exchange lifted its suspension on trading after the food giant announced Monday that it was buying New Zealand snack-maker Griffin's for $610 million. Alliance Global Group gained 0.93 percent to 27 pesos.

-- Taipei was closed because of Typhoon Matmo.

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