Asian Market Watch 22nd August 2012

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HONG KONG: Asian shares were mostly higher yesterday, shrugging off uncertainty over the eurozone debt crisis after Germany and the European Central Bank dampened hopes for action to drive down borrowing costs.

But Tokyo slipped after the previous day’s rally, as the dollar held on to recent gains against the yen, underlining a continued shift away from the safe haven Japanese currency.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.16 per cent, or 14.24 points, to 9,156.92 while the Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 0.08 per cent, or 0.60 points, at 765.26.

The Nikkei struggled for a direction throughout the day, with the yen’s slide and strength of overseas markets providing support, while profit-taking stopped the headline index from sharply rising.

Overall, renewed optimism in the United States was seen lifting Japanese shares in the coming days, Daiwa Securities said.

“We see few reasons for concerns in August,” Daiwa’s chief technical analyst Eiji Kinouchi told Dow Jones Newswires. Technical charts suggest the Nikkei could face selling pressure once it hits 9,400 to 9,700, he added.

Chinese shares closed up 0.54 per cent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 11.31 points.

“Sentiment remained weak… and a continued recovery in the housing market has sparked concerns over further tightening from the government,” Shenyin Wanguo Securities analyst Qian Qimin told said.

Sydney rose 0.44 per cent, or 19.1 points, to 4,383.4, while Seoul lost 0.16 per cent, or 3.09 points, to 1,943.22.

In other markets:

* Taipei rose 1.01 per cent, or 74.90 points, to 7,506.81.

* Bangkok edged up 0.27 per cent, or 3.29 points, to 1,232.29.

* Mumbai’s Sensex Index rose 1.10 per cent, or 194.18 points, to 17,885.26.

* Jakarta and Manila were closed for public holidays. -AFP