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Asian shares higher as S&P 500 breaks record

Asian markets ticked higher Wednesday following another record close on Wall Street as investors welcomed more upbeat data indicating the US economy is back on track.

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly ticked higher on Wednesday (Aug 27) following another record close on Wall Street as investors welcomed more upbeat data indicating the US economy is back on track.

The positive US figures helped the dollar consolidate against the yen at a seven-month high, while it was at an 11-month peak against the euro following disappointing German data.

Tokyo ended marginally stronger, adding 13.60 points to 15,534.82, Sydney gained 0.24 per cent, or 13.58 points, to 5,651.2 and Seoul added 0.33 per cent, or 6.88 points, to 2,074.93.

Shanghai put on 0.11 per cent, or 2.36 points, to end at 2,209.47 but Hong Kong closed 0.62 per cent, or 155.75 points, lower at 24,918.75 after hitting a six-year high on Monday.

US stocks jumped anew on Tuesday after the Conference Board said consumer confidence rose in August for a fourth straight month, to its strongest level since February 2008. Also, durable goods orders surged in July to a new monthly record.

The news sent the S&P 500 up 0.11 per cent to 2,000.02, ending above the 2,000 benchmark for the first time. The Dow rose 0.17 per cent to 17,106.70, just shy of a record high touched intra-day, while the Nasdaq added 0.29 per cent.

As a result of the US bull run, traders are now more confident about riskier assets, sending the dollar up against the yen to sit around highs not seen since January. In Asia on Wednesday, the greenback bought ¥104.11 in the morning - compared with ¥104.05 n New York - but profit-takers led it lower to ¥103.90 in the afternoon.

"It seems as though the (Federal Reserve's policy committee) is running out of arguments to retain its highly accommodative policy stance amid the ongoing improvements in the world's largest economy," said David Song of DailyFX.

EURO HURT BY GERMAN DATA

The US unit broke ¥104 on Monday in response to comments from Fed chief Janet Yellen which some analysts took as an indication of a move towards an interest rate rise sooner than later. Focus will now turn to the release of revised US second-quarter economic growth data on Thursday.

The euro continued to drop on news that German business confidence was at its lowest since July 2013, while European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi hinted at the weekend he could be open to monetary easing measures to lift the eurozone.

The euro slipped to US$1.3151 in Tokyo morning trade - down from US$1.3169 in New York Tuesday and the lowest level since September - before edging back up to US$1.3185 in the afternoon. It also fetched ¥137.02 against ¥137.03.

On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was up 26 cents at US$94.12, while Brent crude for October jumped 37 cents to US$102.87 in afternoon trade. Gold traded at US$1,284.54 an ounce at 1120 GMT, from US$1,289.25 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei climbed 0.98 per cent, or 91.63 points, to 9,485.59.

Smartphone maker HTC advanced 1.5 per cent to NT$135.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.8 per cent higher at NT$125.5.

-- Wellington rose 0.93 per cent or 48.07 points, to 5,243.70.

Air New Zealand was up 1.16 per cent at NZ$2.175 on a strong annual profit report, while software firm Xero gained 0.39 per cent to NZ$25.50.

-- Manila gained 0.20 per cent, or 14.11 points, to 7,160.46.

-- Kuala Lumpur gained 0.57 per cent, or 10.56 points, to 1,872.38.

Malayan Banking rose 0.20 per cent to 10.06 ringgit, while Malaysian Airline System shed 1.96 per cent to 0.25 ringgit.

-- Jakarta ended up 0.36 per cent, or 18.70 points, to 5,165.25.

Bank Negara Indonesia gained 0.47 per cent at 5,350 rupiah, while cement manufacturer Semen Indonesia lost 1.22 per cent at 16,250 rupiah.

-- Singapore closed up 0.55 per cent, or 18.44 points, to 3,341.46.

United Overseas Bank gained 0.69 per cent to S$23.25 while public transport firm ComfortDelGro eased 0.39 per cent to S$2.53.

-- Bangkok added 0.28 per cent, or 4.41 points, to 1,564.58.

Insurance company Bangkok Life Assurance gained 2.44 per cent to 84.00 baht, while Delta Electronics rose 2.77 per cent to 65.00 baht.

-- Mumbai advanced 0.44 per cent, or 117.34 points, to 26,560.15.

Bharat Electronics surged 20.00 per cent to 2,114.40 rupees, while Havells India rose 8.27 per cent to 295.30 rupees.

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