Asian markets rise on Wall St rally, ECB comments

February 28, 2013 | 14:24
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Asian markets rose Thursday after the Dow on Wall Street hit a more than five-year high, while the head of the European Central Bank soothed concerns over the eurozone.

A strong bond sale in Italy also helped the euro despite uncertainty after weekend polls, while the yen resumed its downward trend after Japan's government nominated a fan of aggressive easing as the new central bank governor.

Tokyo climbed 2.71 percent, or 305.39 points, to 11,559.36 as the yen sank on confirmation that Japan's government had put forward Haruhiko Kuroda to take over at the Bank of Japan.

Kuroda, the current Asian Development Bank chief, is known as an advocate of a looser monetary policy to overcome slow growth, in line with the views of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The dollar bought 92.40 yen, compared with 92.16 yen in New York late Wednesday.

Sydney added 1.34 percent, or 67.5 points, to end at 5,104.1 and Seoul rose 1.12 percent, or 22.45 points, to 2,026.49.

In the afternoon Hong Kong shares advanced 1.51 percent and Shanghai was up 1.90 percent.

ECB President Mario Draghi said Wednesday the bank would preserve the integrity of the eurozone, reasserting its commitment to buy up bonds of under-pressure countries.

"We are committed to preserving the integrity of our currency, in the interests of all people of the euro area," he said.

The announcement, which came after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said its own huge easing would stay in place, came as welcome relief to markets after Italy's poll deadlock raised fears of a return to Europe's debt crisis.

On forex markets the euro rebounded after being hammered in the wake of Sunday's inconclusive poll, which saw voters shun austerity policies and leave the country with a hung parliament.

The euro sat at $1.3149 and 121.52 yen in Tokyo, from $1.3136 and 121.07 yen -- and well up from the levels just above $1.30 and 119 yen seen earlier in the week.

The single currency was also given support from news that Rome had successfully sold 6.5 billion euros of treasury bonds, albeit at a higher price, providing evidence for now that it can borrow cash to pay its own bills.

On Wall Street the Dow ended at its highest level since October 2007 after reports showed US pending home sales rebounded sharply in January to the highest level in almost three years.

In other positive news, durable goods orders in January -- excluding volatile aircraft -- surged 1.9 percent, with gains particularly strong in capital goods, suggesting business confidence in the economy in upcoming months.

The Dow jumped 1.26 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 1.27 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.04 percent.

Oil prices rose, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, gained 26 cents to $93.02 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for April delivery added 19 cents to $112.06.

Gold was at $1,598.95 at 0600 GMT compared with $1,608.32 late Wednesday.

In other markets:

-- Wellington jumped 1.02 percent, or 43.69 points, to 4,320.01.

Air New Zealand added 4.1 percent to NZ$1.40 and Auckland Airport was up 2.2 percent at NZ$2.83 while Telecom rose 2.1 percent to NZ$2.42.

-- Taipei was closed for a public holiday.


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