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Asia shares rally

Asia shares rally

HONG KONG: Asian markets rallied on Tuesday, taking their lead from a record close on Wall Street, while Japan’s Nikkei was boosted by a pick-up in the dollar against the yen.

Oil prices were mixed after rising on Monday in response to a vote for independence from Ukraine in the country’s east that has fuelled fears of a civil war.

Tokyo jumped 1.66 percent, Hong Kong added 0.48 percent, Sydney gained 0.82 percent, Shanghai was 0.26 percent higher and Seoul was up 0.80 percent.

Eyes are also on the release of key data out of China on investment, retail sales and industrial output.

In New York the Dow and S&P 500 hit all-time highs and the Nasdaq enjoyed a boost as dealers raced back into technology shares after a recent sell-off that has seen some household names such as Twitter and Netflix tumble.

Analysts said there was no clear reason for the buying but suggested there was a sense that some stocks had been oversold as investors worried the sector was overvalued.

The Dow rose 0.68 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.97 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.77 percent.

The upbeat sentiment filtered through to currency markets, where investors sought out higher yielding, riskier assets, pushing the yen — considered a safe bet — lower.

In early trade the dollar bought 102.19 yen, compared with 102.09 yen in New York Monday.

The euro bought $1.3761 and 140.64 yen, compared with $1.3758 and 140.50 yen.

The single currency has been under pressure since last week when European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said he was ready to ease monetary policy soon as the currency bloc suffers from continuing weak inflation.

Analysts said the comments would likely force the ECB to act at next month’s policy meeting or risk losing its credibility with the markets.

Oil prices were mixed following Monday’s gains, after pro-Russian separatists claimed a victory in weekend referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Kiev denounced the balloting as a “criminal farce”, while the United States and European Union called the votes illegal.

However, the elections have fanned fears of a violent breakup of Ukraine and the possibility of a civil war on Europe’s eastern edge.

Ukraine is a major conduit for Russian oil and gas exports to Europe, and any escalation of the conflict could disrupt supplies and send prices soaring, analysts say.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June, eased nine cents to $100.50 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for June gained eight cents to trade at $108.49 a barrel.

Gold fetched $1,295.66 an ounce at 0230 GMT compared with $1,294.30 late Monday.AFP

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