Channel NewsAsia

Asian stocks rise, euro hit by Russia fears

Asia's markets mostly rose Wednesday (July 30), extending a recent rally, with a weaker yen boosting Tokyo while investors await the release this week of key US data and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

HONG KONG: Asia's markets mostly rose Wednesday (July 30), extending a recent rally, with a weaker yen boosting Tokyo while investors await the release this week of key US data and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

The US and Europe's imposition of fresh sanctions on Russia left Wall Street in negative territory, while the euro struggled at eight-month lows against the dollar owing to concerns about the impact of the measures on the eurozone economy.

Tokyo rose 0.18 percent, or 28.16 points, to a six-month high of 15,646.23, Sydney added 0.62 percent, or 34.46 points, to close at 5,622.9 and Seoul climbed 1.00 percent, or 20.64 points, to 2,082.61. Hong Kong rose 0.37 percent, or 91.68 points, to 24,732.21 but Shanghai ended marginally lower, dipping 1.95 points to 2,181.24.

The Japanese market has enjoyed a pick-up in recent weeks thanks to a dip in the yen, which helps exporters, as well as upbeat corporate earnings.

Tuesday saw auto giant Honda post healthy second-quarter earnings and announce an increase in its full-year sales and profit forecasts. That came a day after rival Nissan said quarterly profit surged 37 percent.

In early trade, the dollar was at 102.16 yen compared with 102.13 yen. The last time the dollar was above the 102 mark was July 7.

Regional dealers were given an anaemic lead from Wall Street, where all three main indexes fell after Washington and Europe broadened sanctions against Moscow.

The European Union imposed new restrictions on the finance, defence and energy sectors, while the United States hit Russia's energy sector, arms industry and financial institutions.

The Dow fell 0.42 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.45 percent and the Nasdaq edged down 0.05 percent.

The euro also took a hit, with Tuesday's announcement sparking speculation about the effects on the already fragile eurozone economy, which relies heavily on Russian energy.

In Tokyo, the single currency sank to US$1.3402, its lowest since November, while it also bought 136.92 yen against 136.93 yen in New York trade.

Dealers are now awaiting the release of data on US economic growth for the second quarter and jobs creation. Wednesday will also see the Federal Reserve hold its latest policy meeting.

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery gained 52 cents to US$101.49, and Brent crude for September was down 47 cents at US$107.77 in afternoon trade.

Gold fetched US$1,299.90 an ounce by 0810 GMT compared with US$1,310.54 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei added 0.59 percent, or 55.14 points, to 9,447.02.

Hon Hai fell 0.48 percent to TW$104.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. rose 0.4 percent to TW$124.5.

-- Wellington slipped 0.14 percent, or 7.00 points, to 5,158.55.

Telecom was down 2.63 percent at NZ$2.77 and Contact Energy rose 0.18 percent to NZ$5.52.

-- Manila closed 0.25 percent higher, adding 17.12 points to 6,867.59.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. gained 1.59 percent to 3,070 pesos and Metropolitan Bank and Trust fell 0.41 percent to 85.30 pesos.

-- Jakarta was closed for a public holiday.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia