Asian shares up after Wall Street rally

Asian shares up after Wall Street rally

HONG KONG - Asian markets rose on Tuesday following a Wall Street rally as traders shrugged off growing tensions between the West and Russia following Crimea's vote for Kremlin rule.

After the weekend vote, the result of which was widely expected, attention turned to economic matters. Better than expected US data provided support as investors await the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

Tokyo rose 0.94 per cent, or 133.60 points, to 14,411.27, Seoul added 0.66 per cent, or 12.68 points, to close at 1,940.21 and Sydney advanced 0.51 per cent, or 27.0 points, to 5,344.6.

Hong Kong climbed 0.51 per cent, or 109.55 points to 21,583.50 while Shanghai closed flat, edging up 1.52 points to 2,025.20.

The United States and European Union on Monday slapped sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, a day after Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to return to Moscow's fold.

Western governments said they would freeze assets of key Russian presidential aides and lawmakers and target Crimean "separatist" leaders as well as ousted former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

And President Barack Obama warned of further measures if Moscow continues to intervene in Ukraine.

"The Ukraine situation remains delicate, but at least has not spilled over into violence, despite the opposition by Western powers," said Daiwa Securities senior strategist Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi.

However, Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management, said: "The bottom line is that it is very difficult to be optimistic under these circumstances because of the material risk that the crisis in the Ukraine will deepen."

After last week's heavy sell-off in New York, US shares bounced back on Monday. The Dow jumped 1.13 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.96 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.81 per cent.

US traders were buoyed by data showing industrial output increased more than expected in February, adding to a growing feeling that the world's number one economy is on a recovery track.

The Fed begins a two-day policy meeting Tuesday that analysts forecast will see a further cut in its stimulus programme.

On forex markets, the dollar fetched 101.60 yen compared with 101.68 yen in New York Monday, while the euro bought $1.3910 and 141.33 yen against $1.3921 and 141.58 yen.

Oil prices rose, with New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, up eight cents to $98.16 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude gained 46 cents to $106.70 for its May contract.

Gold fetched $1,362.05 an ounce at 1050 GMT compared with $1,378.76 late Monday.

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