Arab Today, arab today asian shares mostly higher on us figures
Last Updated : GMT 15:14:28
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Arab Today, arab today

Asian shares mostly higher on US figures

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Asian shares mostly higher on US figures

Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets mostly rose on the last trading day of the year Friday following another set of positive US economic data, but eurozone debt fears remain after a mixed debt sale by Italy. Tokyo rose 0.67 percent, or 56.46 points, to 8,455.35, its lowest year-end level since 1982, while Sydney ended 0.36 percent, or 14.5 points, lower at 4,056.6. Hong Kong was 0.30 percent higher and Shanghai added 0.81 percent in the afternoon. Seoul and Manila were closed for public holidays. The region was given a good lead from the United States, where the three main indexes on Wall Street rallied after upbeat jobs news and positive results on the housing front. The US Labor Department said unemployment benefits rose for the first time in four weeks, but the trend still pointed to a steady decline in layoffs. Initial claims were at 381,000 in the week ending December 24, up 15,000 from the previous week but the four-week moving average fell to 375,000, a level last seen in June 2008. Meanwhile the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index rose 7.3 percent from October to a 100.1 reading in November, its highest since April 2010. It was the second straight month of strong improvement after the October reading jumped more than 10 percent. The index base of 100 was set on average levels in 2001. Adding to the positive figures was data showing manufacturing in the Chicago area remained strong. On Wall Street the Dow jumped 1.12 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.07 percent and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.92 percent. \"Given that we are in the last trading day for 2011 and volumes are likely to remain subdued, it looks like markets around the region seem happy to take their leads from the US and try to finish this year on a positive note,\" Jason Hughes, strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, said in a note. Europe\'s debt struggles continued to be in focus after Italy scraped through a key bond auction Thursday at the end of a disastrous year for the eurozone, raising 7.0 billion euros ($9.0 billion). That was below the maximum 8.5 billion euros sought but long-term rates held below the 7.0 percent danger zone that is considered too high for governments to service their debts. The interest on bonds due in 2021 was at 6.7 percent -- higher than the 5.77 percent for the last similar operation in October -- but the rate on bonds due in 2022 was 6.98 percent, compared with the 7.56 percent paid in November. \"The good news is they sold the required amount they were offering. The bad news is it was basically at seven percent again for the 10-year bond,\" Auckland-based HiFX Senior Trader Stuart Ive told Dow Jones Newswires. The single currency remained under pressure, although it was off the 15-month lows against the dollar that it hit Thursday. On Thursday it tumbled to $1.2858 -- the lowest since September 14, 2010 -- before rebounding on the brighter US economic data. And in afternoon Asian trade Friday it bought $1.2933. The unit also eased to 100.27 yen in Tokyo from 100.61 yen in New York -- sitting at lows not seen for more than a decade. The dollar bought 77.52 yen, compared with 77.62 yen. On oil markets, New York\'s main contract West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for February delivery gained 20 cents to $99.65 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for February was down two cents at $107.99 a barrel. Gold stood at $1,555.23 an ounce at 0600 GMT, compared with $1,528.10 late Thursday. In other markets: -- Taipei closed flat, dropping 2.74 points to 7,072.08. HTC rose 0.6 percent to Tw$497.0 while Chunghwa Telecom fell 0.5 percent to Tw$100.0. -- Wellington rose 0.88 percent, or 28.46 points, to 3,274.71. Contact Energy rose 0.19 percent to NZ$5.27, Air New Zealand fell 0.55 percent to NZ$0.90 and Telecom gained 0.98 percent to NZ$2.07. Exchange operator NZX was flat at NZ$2.26 but was the biggest mover over the past 12 months rising 51.63 percent.  

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