Asian markets in modest rise

Asian markets mostly posted tentative gains Tuesday as a steady drumbeat of bad news about the global economic recovery kept new bets to a minimum.

After Japan on Monday became the latest major economy to report slower growth in the second quarter, a regional manufacturing report in the U.S. further disappointed investors.

Oil prices, meanwhile, edged above $75 a barrel in Asia for the first time in five days but gains were tempered by uncertainty about the strength of demand for fuel in the second half of the year.

Investors have been unnerved by figures showing the U.S. economic recovery is stumbling while China, which helped lead the world out of last year’s recession, is also slowing as Beijing clamps down on credit to prevent overheating.

“The market has grown cautious as confidence in economic recovery waned. Nevertheless, an economic slowdown is unlikely to turn into a double dip recession,” Daewoo Securities said in a report.

Among advancers was China’s Shanghai Composite Index, which added 0.1 percent to 2,663.33 and South Korea’s Kospi, up 0.8 percent to 1,756.52.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 percent to 4,481.80, reversing early losses. Volume was light ahead of national elections on Saturday. Markets in India, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines also gained.

Sustained strength in the yen magnified lackluster sentiment in Japan, where the Nikkei 225 stock average fell 22.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 9,173.87.

Japanese exporters, whose overseas earnings shrink when the yen climbs, came under selling pressure. Toyota Motor Corp. lost 0.7 percent, while camera maker Canon Inc. fell 0.4 percent.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.2 percent at 21,078.40 and Singapore’s benchmark lost 0.2 percent to 2,928.88. New Zealand’s market also fell.

In New York on Monday, the Dow fell 1.14, or 0.01 percent, to 10,302.01.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said manufacturing activity in the state rebounded slightly this month after falling sharply in July. Despite the modest gain, activity did not expand as much as expected, indicating tepid economic growth.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.13, or 0.01 percent, to 1,079.38, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 8.39, or 0.4 percent, to 2,181.87.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 85.30 yen from 85.15 yen late Monday. The euro climbed to $1.2862 from $1.2814.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was up 4 cents at $75.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 15 cents on Monday to settle at $75.24.
Source: AP

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