Asian markets mostly higher, Buffett Apple move boosts techs

GMT 08:38 2016 Tuesday ,17 May

Arab Today, arab today Asian markets mostly higher, Buffett Apple move boosts techs

Tech firms rallied in Asian trade as investors cheered Warren Buffett
Hong Kong - AFP

Most Asian markets climbed Tuesday, as tech firms were boosted by Warren Buffett's billion-dollar stake in Apple, while energy stocks tracked further gains in oil prices.

After last week's sell-off, US investors provided a blistering lead Monday with all three main indexes sharply higher, pumped up by news of Buffett's giant stake in the iPhone maker.

Apple, which has tumbled since it last month reported its first fall in sales of the popular smartphones, rallied 3.7 on the announcement.

And Asian suppliers to the firm followed suit, with Tokyo-listed Alps Electric, Japan Display and Taiyo Yuden enjoying strong gains. Hon Hai in Taipei added 0.4 percent and .

Stock markets in the region were also broadly higher.

Tokyo jumped more than one percent thanks to a further rally in the dollar against the yen, and a day after rising 0.3 percent on the back of a report that the government was considering delaying next year's planned sales tax hike.

Attention now turns to the release of first-quarter economic growth data by Tokyo on Wednesday.

Among other markets Hong Kong added 0.7 percent in late trade and Sydney also gained 0.7 percent by the close while Singapore put on 1.5 percent. But Shanghai dipped 0.3 percent.

Energy firms were among the big gainers as oil prices pushed higher still, a day after closing at six-month highs in reaction to a Goldman Sachs report saying the petroleum market was in a short-term supply deficit.

On Tuesday West Texas Intermediate was up 1.3 percent at $48.33 and Brent put on 0.8 percent to $49.30.

- 'Dollar coming back' -
"Markets seem to be in a relatively sweet spot with a steadily stronger US dollar and resilient commodities prices," Angus Nicholson, a markets analyst at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said by e-mail.

"Many investors have been predicting a pullback in markets, but despite all the negativity, markets have continued to grind higher."

Australia's Woodside Petroleum soared 2.9 percent and mining giant BHP Billiton added 3.5 percent. In Hong Kong CNOOC was 2.3 percent higher and PetroChina 2.5 percent up.

The optimistic tone filtered through to forex markets, where the dollar rose to 109.40 yen, up from 109.06 yen in New York and sharply higher than the 18-month lows around 105.50 yen touched two weeks ago. 

Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, told Bloomberg News: "The US dollar is coming back and that's where it will be for the second half of the second quarter and into the third quarter."

The optimism on trading floors saw the dollar dip against higher-yielding, or riskier, emerging market currencies.

The Australian dollar rose 0.9 percent, South Korea's won gained 0.5 percent and the Indonesian rupiah was up 0.1 percent. The oil-reliant Malaysian ringgit edged up 0.2 percent and the Thai baht moved 0.1 percent higher.

- Key figures around 0730 GMT -

Tokyo: Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 16,652.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 2,843.68 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 20,018.76

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1320 from $1.1318 Monday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.40 yen from 109.06 yen

New York - Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 17,710.71 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,151.40 (close)

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