Asia shares higher, baht edges up after coup

Asia shares higher, baht edges up after coup
The new junta headed by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Thursday the coup was staged "in order for the country to return to normal quickly".

HONG KONG - Asian markets rose for a second straight day Friday, taking a positive cue from Wall Street, and Thailand's baht edged up against the dollar after the army announced a coup after months of deadly protests.

The greenback made further inroads against the yen as improved sentiment led investors into higher yielding, riskier assets.

Tokyo rose 0.94 per cent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.13 per cent, Sydney was up 0.38 per cent, Seoul put on 0.10 per cent and Shanghai was 0.13 per cent higher.

Sentiment remains buoyant after Thursday's gains that were fuelled by a sharp improvement in Chinese manufacturing activity and positive comments about interest rates from the US Federal Reserve.

New York's main indexes ended higher following a mixed batch of indicators as the United States heads for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims, a measure of the pace of layoffs, ticked up slightly from the previous week, while existing homes sales were 1.3 per cent higher in April, the first month there has been a rise this year.

The Dow edged up 0.07 per cent, the S&P 500 rose 0.24 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.55 per cent.

Dealers are keeping an eye on events in Thailand after the military seized power Thursday, declaring a nationwide night-time curfew and curbs on civil liberties.

It also ordered masses of rival demonstrators off Bangkok's streets that over the past seven months have seen deadly anti-government demonstrations.

Coup reduces uncertainty

The new junta headed by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Thursday the coup was staged "in order for the country to return to normal quickly".

"All Thais must remain calm and government officials must work as normal," he said in a brief televised address announcing the takeover, flanked by top military and police officials.

On Friday military leaders summoned more than 100 prominent figures from rival political camps, including "Red Shirt" leaders, former police and military officers and politicians from the opposing parties.

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