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Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

Business

Asian shares gain as geopolitical tensions subside

AFP | Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

HONG KONG - Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday, tracking rallies on Wall Street and in Europe as easing geopolitical tensions lifted investor confidence.

Tokyo stocks gained 0.32 per cent, extending their rally in the previous session after US airstrikes on Iraq - aimed at beating back rampaging Islamic State extremists - prompted sharp falls last week.

Sydney climbed 1.09 per cent and Seoul traded 0.31 per cent higher, but Shanghai shed 0.42 per cent and Hong Kong slipped a tad as investors booked profits following recent gains.

Bangkok was closed for a public holiday.

US President Barack Obama, who reluctantly ordered the airstrikes last week, welcomed the nomination of a new Iraqi prime minister Monday to replace controversial leader Nuri al-Maliki.

Obama voiced hope that a new Iraqi leadership would forge an "inclusive government" and begin to ease the sectarian divisions that have fuelled the crisis.

Investors were also tracking the crisis in conflict-torn Ukraine as Russia said Monday it would dispatch a humanitarian convoy to the eastern part of the country, despite fierce warnings from the West that Moscow not act alone as a cover for sending in troops.

Russia insists its military would not be involved in the convoy, but Kiev said Moscow could only play a role as part of a broader Red Cross mission.

US stocks finished higher on Monday as subsiding geopolitical tensions boosted market confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.10 per cent at 16,569.98, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.28 per cent to 1,936.92.

On currency markets, the dollar was at 102.24 yen in early Tokyo trade, compared with 102.21 yen in New York late Monday.

The dollar rallied against the yen and euro Monday after the unit plunged in the wake of last week's announcement of US air strikes in Iraq.

The euro bought $1.3384 and 136.81 yen against $1.3383 and 136.79 yen.

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery eased 16 cents to $97.92 while Brent crude for September was down 12 cents to $104.56.

Gold traded at $1,306.66 an ounce by 0254 GMT compared to $1,307.68 an ounce on Monday.

 

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