Asian markets rise, yen weakens on Japan stimulus

Asian markets mostly climbed on Friday after data showed the US economy grew more than first expected in the third quarter while traders remain upbeat a deal will be made on averting the fiscal cliff.

The yen eased further against the dollar and euro after the Japanese government announced a huge spending spree to kickstart the economy just weeks before a general election.

Tokyo closed 0.48 percent, or 45.13 points, higher at 9,446.01, Sydney ended up 0.63 percent, or 28.3 points, at 4,506.0 but Seoul finished 0.10 percent, or 1.95 points, lower at 1,932.90, reversing early day gains.

Hong Kong closed 0.49 percent higher adding 107.50 points to 22,030.39, while Shanghai was up 0.85 percent, or 16.63 points, at 1,980.12.

The US Commerce Department said Thursday the economy grew 2.7 percent in the three months to September, faster than the 2.0 percent first estimated, reflecting in part increases in government spending and private inventory investment.

However, growth in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of output, was revised down to 1.4 percent, just slightly above the second-quarter pace.

Also, jobless claims fell back to 393,000 in the most recent week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The figures provide a general view that the country is gradually getting back on its feet, which will have a positive knock-on effect for the global economy.

Lawmakers in Washington are locked in tough talks on averting the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts to come into effect on January 1, which could tip the economy back into recession.

But while Republican House Speaker John Boehner has rejected as "ridiculous" President Barack Obama's first proposal to cut the country's deficit, investors are broadly confident a deal will be achieved by the end of the year.

Wall Street's main indexes finished in positive territory for a second straight day. The Dow was up 0.28 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.43 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.68 percent.

On currency markets traders sold the yen further after reports said the cabinet of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda approved a $10.7 billion stimulus ahead of December 16 polls that his ruling party is expected to lose.

The yen has taken a hit this month after Shinzo Abe, the leader of the opposition and the man expected to become prime minister after the vote, said he would push a more aggressive monetary easing policy.

In the afternoon the dollar rose to 82.58 yen from 82.10 yen in late Thursday New York trade, while the euro bought 107.46 yen, compared with 106.58 yen. It was also at $1.3012, from $1.2978.

The dollar is up 3.5 percent against the yen in November, while the euro has risen 3.3 percent.

Also providing a little support to Tokyo shares was news of a surprise rise in Japan's factory output for October.

Production grew 1.8 percent from the previous month, the first rise in four months and beating an average market forecast of a 2.2 percent drop.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was down 21 cents to $87.86 a barrel in the morning, and Brent North Sea crude for January dropped 10 cents to $110.66.

Gold was at $1,728.37 at 1040 GMT compared with $1,724.60 late Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 1.02 percent, or 76.62 points, to 7,580.17.

HTC was up 2.7 percent at Tw$266.0 while TSMC gained 2.28 percent to Tw$98.7.

-- Wellington rose 0.83 percent, or 33.32 points, to 4,050.09

Fletcher Building up 1.41 percent at NZ$7.92, Chorus rising 1.8 percent to NZ$3.40 and Telecom Corp down 1.70 percent at NZ$2.31.

-- Kuala Lumpur was up 0.22 percent, or 3.51 points, at 1,610.83.

IHH Healthcare added 3.3 percent to 3.48 ringgit while Axiata Group rose 0.2 percent to 5.92 ringgit.

-- Jakarta ended down 0.99 percent, or 42.95 points, at 4,276.14.

Mobile phone provider Indosat dropped 11.9 percent to 5,550 rupiah and palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari fell 3.23 percent to 18,000 rupiah.

-- Bangkok rose 1.10 percent, or 14.47 points, to 1,324.04.

Coal producer Banpu lost 0.75 percent to 395.00 baht while energy giant PTT gained 0.63 percent to 320.00 baht.

-- Singapore closed 0.80 percent, or 24.05 points, higher at 3,069.95.

Farm commodities supplier Olam, which has come under attack from US research firm Muddy Waters, was up 0.96 percent to Sg$1.575 after falling sharply over the past two weeks.

-- Mumbai rose 0.88 percent, or 168.99 points, to 19,339.90 points.

Private steel producer Jindal Steel rose 5.39 percent to 402 rupees while state-run oil explorer ONGC rose 4.44 percent to 264.9 rupees.

-- Manila was closed for a public holiday.

--

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