Asian markets mixed ahead of US Fed meeting

Traders were upbeat despite a soft lead from Wall Street while the dollar edged up after suffering a sell-off on Friday in New York.

Updated: Jun 17, 2013, 12:57 PM IST

Hong Kong: Asian markets were mixed Monday even as a weak batch of US economic data provided hope the Federal Reserve would put off announcing any winding down of its vast stimulus scheme at the end of a policy meeting this week.

Traders were upbeat despite a soft lead from Wall Street while the dollar edged up after suffering a sell-off on Friday in New York.

Tokyo jumped 2.73 percent, or 346.60 points to 13,033.12, climbing for a second successive session after plunging more than six percent on Thursday.

Sydney rose 0.71 percent, or 34.1 points, to 4,825.9 while Seoul lost 0.32 percent, or 6.14 points, to 1,883.10.

In the afternoon Hong Kong gained 1.23 percent while Shanghai was down 0.30 percent.

Global markets have see-sawed in recent weeks on expectations the Fed will soon start to reel in its $85-billion-a-month stimulus that has been credited with fuelling a stocks rally since September.

"As US employment data has shown signs of a weak economic recovery, I think the Fed will stand pat on its easing policies, opening the door to more yen weakening," Naoki Fujiwara, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The selling pressure intensified on Tuesday when the Bank of Japan held off unveiling any more of its own easing measures.

However, the latest figures out of Washington on Friday suggest the economy is still too weak for the Fed to turn off the tap, with analysts saying it is unlikely this week will see any such announcements.

Industrial production came in flat last month, there was a decline in the much-watched University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, and producer prices registered just a modest gain in May.

"The data coming in are up and down, and unconvincing that the US economy is on a firm recovery track, leading to more jitters about central bank policy," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

On Wall Street the Dow fell 0.70 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.59 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.63 percent.

The dollar also slipped in New York Friday but bounced back in Asia, thanks to a more confident outlook for the Fed meeting.

In Tokyo afternoon trade the dollar was at 94.97 yen against 94.22 yen in New York late Friday. The euro was at $1.3331 and 126.27 yen from $1.3346 and 125.74 yen.

On oil markets New York`s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, dropped 35 cents to $97.50 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for August delivery shed 45 cents to $105.48 in the afternoon.

Gold was at $1,387.80 at 0630 GMT from $1,379.60 late Friday.
In other markets:

Taipei rose 0.69 percent, 55.15 points to 7,992.89.

HTC gained 2.11 percent at Tw$266.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was unchanged at Tw$106.0

Wellington rose rose 0.60 percent, or 26.67 points, to 4,447.64