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Asian shares mostly up after fresh records on Wall Street

Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday following fresh records on Wall Street, while Shanghai and Hong Kong headed higher after data showed Chinese inflation surged in May. 

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday following fresh records on Wall Street, while Shanghai and Hong Kong headed higher after data showed Chinese inflation surged in May.

Tokyo fell 0.85 percent, or 129.20 points, to finish at 14,994.80 owing to a weaker yen, but Seoul surged 1.09 percent, or 21.76 points, to 2,011.80 and Sydney edged up 0.1 percent, or 5.67 points, to close at 5469.7.

Shanghai rallied 1.08 percent, or 22.03 points, to 2,052.53 and Hong Kong rose 0.86 percent, or 198.27 points, to 23,315.74.

Global markets have been on an uptrend in recent weeks as dealers cheered a string of impressive data, including a healthy US jobs report, stronger Japanese economic growth and a marked improvement in Chinese manufacturing and trade.

The data, as well as fresh merger and acquisition activity, have sent Wall Street surging. The Dow rose 0.11 percent to its third straight record close on Monday, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.09 percent, hitting an all-time high for the fourth straight session. The Nasdaq added 0.34 percent.

Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks jumped as dealers welcomed figures showing Chinese consumer prices rose by 2.5 percent in May, the highest since January, alleviating residual fears that the world's second-biggest economy could slip into deflation.

However, inflation is still well below the government's target of 3.5 percent for 2014, and the latest reading will not be enough to quell calls for Beijing to introduce easing measures to boost the economy.

Adding to buying sentiment was the announcement on Monday by the People's Bank of China of a cut in the amount of cash that some smaller lenders must keep with the central bank -- the reserve requirement ratio -- as part of a limited stimulus to boost spending.

However, the PBoC signalled no significant policy loosening is in the pipeline, despite some calls for more forceful relaxation.

BOC International analyst Zhang Yuheng told Dow Jones Newswires: "The economy would have to deteriorate further in order to warrant a cut impacting all banks."

In foreign exchange trade, the dollar dipped to 102.25 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday from 102.53 yen late Monday in New York.

The euro eased to $1.3585 from $1.3592, while it was also at 138.93 yen against 139.35 yen.

Oil prices went up in Asia as investors cheered the recent robust economic data from around the world, with the breakdown of initial Ukraine-Russia talks to avert a gas cut-off also boosting prices.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for July, gained 33 cents to $104.74 a barrel in afternoon trade after jumping $1.75 in New York on Monday. Brent North Sea crude rose one cent to $110.00 for its July contract after leaping $1.38 on Monday.

Gold fetched $1,254.70 an ounce at 0805 GMT compared with $1,255.94 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.65 percent, or 59.63 points, to 9,222.37.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co gained 1.22 percent to T$124.5 while Cathay Financial Holding was 1.52 percent higher at T$46.75.

-- Wellington slipped 0.15 percent, or 7.95 points, to 5,179.40.
Telecom was off 1.10 percent at NZ$2.685 and Trade Me fell 0.58 percent to NZ$3.45.

-- Manila closed 0.36 percent lower, giving up 24.75 points to 6,777.98.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone dropped 0.21 percent to 2,882 pesos while Ayala Land fell 0.97 percent to 30.60 pesos.

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