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Asian stocks mixed, euro hit by Portugal debt fears

AFP | Last Updated: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 09:08

Hong Kong: Asian markets were mixed on Monday on the back of Chinese data showing a recovery in the world`s second-largest economy, but fears of a catastrophic bank run in Portugal hit the euro.

Traders said the intervention by Portugal`s central bank to inject 4.4 billion euros ($5.9 billion) into the crisis-hit Banco Espirito Santo (BES) late Sunday had an impact on markets. 

Tokyo was flat by the break, Hong Kong rose 0.24 percent, Sydney slumped 1.4 percent and Shanghai climbed 0.42 percent.

Seoul lost 0.1 percent, while Jakarta was flat in early trade.

"European risk is having an impact on the broader market," Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of research at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

But traders said a string of recent upbeat data from China was providing positive leads. Chinese manufacturing activity increased sharply in July, an official survey showed Friday, rising at its fastest rate in more than two years.

Defence and construction stocks lead slight gains in China on Monday. 

AJ Securities analyst Hou Yingmin told Dow Jones Newswires this was due to a "combination of an economic recovery, ample liquidity and market friendly policies, including Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect program."

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.42 percent despite a solid US jobs report and generally good corporate earnings.

Investors took a cautious stance after Thursday`s rout, which sent the blue-chip index tumbling more than 300 points, giving up all its gains for 2014. 

The Labor Department reported that the US economy added 209,000 jobs in July, down from June but maintaining the solid 200,000-plus monthly streak since February.

The S&P 500 posted its worst weekly loss in more than two years last week -- fuelled by debt concerns in Argentina.

On the currency markets, the euro slipped in Asia on Monday after Portugal`s intervention to salvage BES bank.

The euro bought $1.3418 and 137.75 yen against $1.3430 and 137.78 yen in US trade late Friday, while the dollar was at 102.65 yen compared with 102.60 yen in New York.

Oil prices rose in early Asian trading. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose three cents to $97.91 while Brent for September gained eight cents to $104.92. 

Gold fetched $1,292.58 an ounce by 0330 GMT compared with $1,284.40 Friday.

First Published: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 09:08
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