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Asian shares mixed as rally peters

Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei bouncing back from the previous day's losses while the euro weakened further against the yen and the dollar.

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei bouncing back from the previous day's losses while the euro weakened further against the yen and the dollar.

The Dow on Wall Street marked up yet another record high, but with few catalysts to drive trade, investors stayed on the sidelines.

Tokyo added 0.50 per cent, or 74.68 points to finish at 15,069.48 and Seoul rose 0.14 per cent, or 2.87 points, to 2,014.67 while Shanghai added 0.12 per cent, or 2.42 points, to 2,054.95.

However, Sydney eased 0.29 per cent, or 15.65 points, to 5,454.0 and Hong Kong eased 0.25 per cent, or 58.45 points, to 23,257.29.

Analysts said dealers were taking a breather after a recent advance on global markets fuelled by a batch of upbeat data, including on US jobs, Japanese economic growth, and Chinese manufacturing and trade.

Leading the advances has been Wall Street, where the Dow and S&P 500 have broken records on a regular basis over the past two weeks.

The rally stalled Tuesday. Although the Dow managed a 0.02 per cent gain to hit a new record, the S&P 500 dipped 0.02 per cent from its all-time high while the Nasdaq nudged 0.04 per cent higher.

The main focus for the rest of the week will be on the Bank of Japan's monetary policy meeting that concludes Friday, with investors hoping for a lead on whether it plans to unveil any fresh stimulus measures for the economy.

On foreign exchange markets, in Tokyo on Wednesday the dollar dipped to 102.30 yen, compared with 102.35 yen in New York.

The euro eased to $1.3537 and 138.48 yen from $1.3545 and 138.64 yen.

Analysts said the single currency was finally being sold off after the European Central Bank's aggressive easing measures last week, which included an unprecedented cut in interest rates to negative.

"After an initial limited reaction, last week's easing by the European Central Bank appears to be weighing on the euro," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Securities.

Oil prices edged up as oil cartel OPEC prepares to hold a meeting in Vienna later in the day at which it is expected to maintain its production output.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery rose 34 cents to $104.69 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent oil for July added 33 cents to $109.85.

Gold fetched $1,261.70 an ounce at 0810 GMT compared with $1,253.19 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei was flat, edging up 7.43 points to 9,229.8.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. rose 0.4 per cent to T$125.0 while smartphone maker HTC fell 2.41 per cent to T$141.5.

-- Wellington was marginally lower, edging down 0.25 points to 5,179.15.

Telecom was unchanged at NZ$2.685 and Fletcher Building slipped 1.30 per cent to NZ$9.12.

-- Manila climbed 0.46 per cent, or 31.20 points, to 6,809.18.

BDO Unibank gained 1.59 per cent to 92.65 pesos while Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co rose 0.53 per cent to 85.85.

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