- POSTED: 08 Jan 2014 16:37
- UPDATED: 08 Jan 2014 19:32
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Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday, but Tokyo surged in response to a weaker yen and a Wall Street rally sparked by stronger US economic data.
HONG KONG: Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday, but Tokyo surged in response to a weaker yen and a Wall Street rally sparked by stronger US economic data.
Investors are also awaiting the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting to see if another cut in its stimulus could be on the cards, while closely watched jobs figures are due later in the week.
Tokyo rallied 1.94 percent, or 307.08 points, to 16,121.45 and Hong Kong jumped 1.25 percent, or 283.81 points, to 22,996.59.
Sydney was flat, edging down 1.0 point to end at 5,316.0. Seoul was also almost unchanged, dipping just 0.48 points to close at 1,958.96.
Shanghai lost 0.15 percent, or 2.98 points, to 2,044.34.
After a tentative start to 2014 - caused by profit-taking following healthy gains last year - US shares enjoyed a rally on Tuesday after the Commerce Department said the trade deficit shrank in November as exports hit a record high for a second straight month.
The deficit narrowed 12.9 percent from October, the second month in a row of contraction, to $34.3 billion, the smallest figure since September 2009.
The upbeat numbers added to growing optimism about the world's number one economy and could tilt the Fed to consider further reducing its stimulus programme.
The central bank said at its last meeting that from January it would cut its bond-buying by $10 billion a month to $75 billion. Minutes for that gathering are due for release later Wednesday and could give clues about its future intentions.
The data "further supports the view that the outlook for the US economy is improving", St. George Bank economist Janu Chan told Dow Jones Newswires.
On Wall Street the Dow rose 0.64 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.61 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 0.96 percent.
The dollar extended its gains on Wednesday after enjoying a pick-up in New York following the trade figures.
It bought 105.05 yen in late afternoon compared with 104.69 yen in New York late Tuesday, although it is still well below the five-year high of 105.41 yen touched at the start of last week.
The euro was at $1.3619 and 143.07 yen, from $1.3614 and 142.53 yen.
Oil prices were higher. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, was up 45 cents at $94.12 in mid-morning trade. Brent North Sea crude for February rose 31 cents to $107.66.
Gold fetched $1,225.50 at 1120 GMT compared with $1,239.00 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei rose 0.51 percent, or 43.71 points, to 8,556.01.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. added 1.96 percent to Tw$104.0 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.63 percent higher at Tw$79.5.
-- Wellington added 0.42 percent, or 20.18 points, to 4,779.80.
-- Manila closed 0.66 percent higher, adding 39.04 points to 5,986.48.
BDO Unibank rose 0.97 percent to 72.55 pesos, Philippine Long Distance Telephone added 1.52 percent to 2,668 pesos and SM Prime Holdings gained 1.94 percent to 14.68 pesos.
-- Jakarta closed higher 0.59 percent, or 24.79 points, at 4,200.59.
Palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari rose 6.05 percent to 22,800 rupiah, while Indofood Sukses Makmur gained 1.13 percent to 6,700 rupiah.
-- Singapore closed up 0.95 percent, or 29.77 points, at 3,150.65.
Singapore Telecom rose 0.28 percent to Sg$3.55 while DBS Bank gained 1.94 percent to Sg$17.37.
-- Kuala Lumpur's main index added 6.19 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,831.30.
Tenaga Nasional leapt 6.1 percent to 11.80 ringgit while British American Tobacco ended 1.3 percent higher at 62.92. Malayan Banking shed 1.5 percent to 9.81 ringgit.
-- Bangkok fell 0.37 percent or 4.63 points to 1,257.73.
Airports of Thailand dropped 4.29 percent to 145.00 baht, while telecoms company True Corporation fell 4.23 percent to 6.80 baht.
-- Mumbai rose for the first time this year, edging up 0.17 percent or 36.14 points to 20,729.38.