Arab Today, arab today asian markets up on us talks
Last Updated : GMT 17:51:52
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Asian markets up on US talks

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Arab Today, arab today Asian markets up on US talks

Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets rose on Wednesday as dealers welcomed signs of progress in US fiscal cliff talks and upbeat data from Germany and Spain. Regional share markets were initially unmoved by North Korea\'s launch of a long-range rocket in contravention of UN sanctions, with Seoul remaining in positive territory. Tokyo rose 0.49 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.59 per cent, Sydney climbed 0.37 per cent, Shanghai was 0.30 per cent higher and Seoul was up 0.20 per cent. US President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have swapped new offers to avoid the fiscal cliff of huge tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into effect on January 1, according to sources on both sides. It fuelled hopes that the two, who have been at loggerheads over plans to increase taxes on the rich and slashing aid to Medicare, could come to an agreement. If a deal is not reach by the New Year the package currently in place is widely expected to send the economy into recession. Markets are also eyeing a meeting of the Federal Reserve policy committee, which is to decide on what action to take as the end approaches of its \"Operation Twist\" -- selling short-term debt to buy longer-term debt. There are expectations that policymakers will replace it with more outright bond purchases, or \"quantitative easing\", aimed at lowering interest rates to encourage businesses to invest and hire. Buying support was also provided by positive numbers from Germany, where investor sentiment in Europe\'s key economic machine hit a seven-month high on hopes it will dodge recession. The confidence index from the ZEW economic institute surged to 6.9 points in December from minus 15.7 in November. Forecasts had been for a reading of minus 11.3. It was the highest reading since May and the first time since then that the index has been in positive territory. Spain also enjoyed a successful Treasury bond auction, easing fears over its ability to raise cash to pay its bills. Traders on Wall Street ended on a positive note. The Dow rose 0.60 per cent, a fifth straight day of gains, while the S&P 500 added 0.65 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 1.18 per cent. Confidence in \"riskier\" assets sent the safe-haven yen lower in US trade on Tuesday and the unit remained under pressure in Asia Wednesday. The greenback jumped to 82.63 yen soon after South Korea said the North had fired its rocket, which critics insists was being used as a covert ballistic missile test. However, the dollar soon eased back to 82.51 yen, compared with 82.51 yen in New York. The euro was at 107.34 yen from 107.28 yen. That compares with 82.36 yen and 106.68 yen in Asia Tuesday. The euro bought $1.3006 Wednesday, from $1.3003 in New York. Previous launches and nuclear tests have led to an initial asset sell-off owing to geopolitical fears, but regional markets remained up in early trade. On oil markets New York\'s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January, edged up six cents to $85.85, and Brent North Sea crude for January added 26 cents at $108.27. Gold was at $1,711.32 at 0230 GMT compared with $1,709.35 late on Tuesday.

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