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Asian shares up on Wall St record

Asian markets advanced on Wednesday, taking a strong lead from a record close on Wall Street, while a weaker yen helped Tokyo to add to its previous day's healthy gains.

HONG KONG: Asian markets advanced on Wednesday, taking a strong lead from a record close on Wall Street, while a weaker yen helped Tokyo to add to its previous day's healthy gains.

The dollar sat at more than five-and-a-half-year lows against the pound after a strong set of manufacturing figures out of Britain.

Investors are also eyeing the release of the closely watched US jobs figures that will provide fresh clues about the strength of the recovery in the US economy.

Tokyo rose 0.29 per cent, or 43.77 points, to 15,369.97, Sydney added 1.48 per cent, or 79.5 points, to 5,455.4 and Seoul put on 0.81 per cent, or 16.28 points, to close at 2,015.28.

Shanghai ended 0.44 per cent, or 9.04 points, higher at 2,059.42, while Hong Kong shares jumped 1.55 per cent, or 358.90 points to 23,549.62.

US shares jumped in response to reports from China that a survey of manufacturing activity in June hit its highest level this year, suggesting a growth slowdown may have bottomed out. Traders were also boosted by surprisingly strong figures for US auto sales.

The Dow climbed 0.77 per cent on Tuesday and the S&P 500 added 0.67 per cent -- both ending at all-time highs. The Nasdaq surged 1.14 per cent.

Investors were unfazed by the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers' index of manufacturing activity, which dipped marginally in June.

Focus now turns to the release of non-farm payrolls figures from the US Labor Department.

"Upcoming US jobs data should help to reinforce hopes that the US economic recovery remains on track," Mizuho Securities senior technical analyst Yutaka Miura told Dow Jones Newswires.

On currency markets, the dollar headed back towards 102 yen after sinking over the past few days. In New York on Tuesday, the greenback rose to 101.53 yen from 101.40 yen in Tokyo earlier in the day.

In Asian business on Wednesday, the unit sat at 101.55 yen. The euro bought $1.3677 and 138.90 yen in Tokyo against $1.3677 and 138.88 yen in New York.

The dollar was also under pressure against the pound after a surprise rise in British manufacturing data for June.

The pound bought $1.7156 in Tokyo after hitting $1.7166 late Tuesday, the highest level since October 2008.

Currency dealers have been moving into the pound in recent weeks after the head of the Bank of England suggested interest rates could rise sooner than initially thought as the economy picks up pace.

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery rose 10 cents to $105.44, while Brent crude gained nine cents to $112.38 in afternoon trade.

Gold fetched $1,326.81 an ounce at 0700 GMT compared with $1,325.00 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.46 per cent, or 43.04 points, to 9,484.96.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 3.52 per cent to NT$132.5, while Hon Hai Precision Industry closed 0.98 per cent higher at NT$103.0.

-- Wellington was marginally higher, adding 3.12 points to 5,149.39.

Chorus edged up 0.58 per cent to NZ$1.735 and Fletcher Building ticked 0.23 per cent higher to NZ$8.77.

-- Manila ended up 0.35 percent, or 23.99 points, at 6,850.60.

Ayala Corp. rose 1.47 per cent to 9.50 pesos, Alliance Global added 0.51 per cent to 29.35 pesos, and Bank of the Philippine Islands gained 1.85 per cent to 93.50 pesos.

-- Mumbai surged 1.27 per cent, or 324.86 points, to 25,841.21 points.

Adani Ports gained 10.98 per cent to 270.90 rupees, while Castrol India rose 8.94 per cent to 361.20 rupees.

-- Kuala Lumpur rose 0.41 per cent, or 7.72 points, to 1,886.84.

SapuraKencana Petroleum added 1.4 per cent to 4.40 ringgit, while utility Tenaga Nasional rose 1.5 per cent to 12.38.

-- Bangkok added 0.41 per cent, or 6.06 points, to 1,491.81.

Bangkok Bank gained 3.37 per cent to 199.50 baht, while convenience store operator CP All lost 3.12 per cent to 46.50 baht.

-- Jakarta ended up 0.48 per cent, or 23.45 points, at 4,908.27.

Property firm Ciputra Development gained 3.21 per cent to 965 rupiah, while miner Aneka Tambang slipped 0.91 per cent to 1,090 rupiah.

-- Singapore rose 0.66 per cent, or 21.27 points, to 3,263.91.

Singapore Airlines rose 1.16 per cent to S$10.49 while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation was up 0.32 per cent to S$9.48.

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