Asian shares mixed in morning trade

GMT 05:40 2015 Thursday ,26 February

Arab Today, arab today Asian shares mixed in morning trade

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen
Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets were mixed Thursday after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen signalled the US central bank was in no hurry to raise rates while energy stocks rose on higher oil prices.
Tokyo's Nikkei index was 0.55 percent higher by the break, Sydney slipped 0.59 percent, Seoul was down 0.13 percent, while Wellington rallied 0.27 percent.
Hong Kong gained 0.31 percent after opening down, while China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.21 percent.
Profit taking snapped the Nikkei's five-day winning streak on Wednesday after the benchmark index reached levels not seen since the turn of the century.
"Japanese stocks have been overbought in the short term, and there's a lack of catalysts, so chasing prices higher will be difficult," said Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.
"On the other hand, it's difficult to sell when there's expectations of further excess liquidity" with central banks globally maintaining easy monetary policies, he said.
The dollar made up lost ground against the yen after falling when Fed chair Yellen hinted the central bank was in no hurry to raise rates.
The greenback fetched 118.97 yen in Tokyo trade, up from 118.86 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.
Asian exchanges had seen broad rises on Wednesday following dampened speculation of a US rate rise and relief over a Greek debt deal.
Markets have been rife with speculation over when this year the US central bank will start raising interest rates.
In a second day of testimony to the US Congress, Yellen provided no fresh clues on the timing of the rate increase, but again signalled that the Fed was in no rush.
"We did not see anything nefariously dovish in Yellen's testimony," National Australia Bank said.
"The only thing that is clear is that (the Fed policy-making) FOMC has given itself more flexibility than before," the bank said in a note.
"If US data begins to... surprise once more, the market will quickly jump back on to the 'buy USD' bandwagon," it said.
The euro stayed pressured as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an agreement on a four-month extension of Athens' bailout was merely a "starting point".
Greece on Tuesday secured a four-month extension to its 240-billion-euro bailout, averting a potentially calamitous expiry on Saturday that could have seen Athens leave the euro.
After rebounding sharply Wednesday, oil prices fell in Asian trade but losses were capped as dealers focused on positive elements of a mixed US energy stockpiles report.
The latest official report by the Department of Energy showed stockpiles of gasoline and distillates falling, indicating rising demand, even as stocks of crude oil surged.
West Texas Intermediate for April eased 36 cents to $50.63 while Brent crude for April tumbled 30 cents to $61.33 in late-morning trade.
Gold fetched $1209.58 an ounce against $1,209.81 late Wednesday.
-- Bloomberg News contributed to this article --


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