Asian shares extend gains on Wall St rally

A man is reflected on an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo.

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday, adding to the previous day's rally, following a positive lead from Wall Street while concerns over the Ukraine air crash crisis ease.

The euro was wallowing at multi-month lows against the dollar and yen as the West considers another round of sanctions against Russia for its support of Ukrainian rebels who have been accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Thursday.

Sydney rose 0.6 per cent, or 33.41 points, to close at 5,576.7 and Shanghai added 0.15 per cent, or 3.01 points, to 2,078.49, while Hong Kong put on 0.80 per cent, or 189.76 points, to 23,971.87.

However, Seoul was marginally lower, giving up 0.61 points to finish at 2,028.32 while Tokyo slipped 0.10 per cent, or 14.72 points, to 15,328.56 as a stronger yen weighed on exporters.

Jakarta rose 0.50 per cent a day after officials declared business-friendly and reform-minded Joko Widodo the winner of the country's tight presidential election.

Global markets rebounded on Tuesday on news that pro-Russian rebels had handed over the black boxes from the Malaysian passenger jet that came down in eastern Ukraine with the loss of almost 300 people.

US shares were given an extra boost by data from the National Association of Realtors that showed sales of existing homes in June accelerated 2.6 per cent to their fastest pace since October. The figures are a boon for the economy, with the property sector a key component.

The Dow rose 0.36 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.50 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.71 per cent.

Also Tuesday, the Labor Department said inflation slowed to 0.3 per cent in June from 0.4 per cent in May.

The news will do little to add pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than the expected mid-2015 range. The Fed holds its next policy meeting on July 29-30.

Russia sanction threat hits euro

On currency markets, the euro came under pressure as investors worry about the effects of another round of expected sanctions on Russia, which has been blamed with supplying anti-Kiev militants in Ukraine.

With the eurozone heavily reliant on its giant eastern neighbour for energy supplies, there are fears the bloc's already fragile economy could suffer as a result of any new measures against Moscow.

The single currency hit an eight-month low of $1.3458 in Tokyo Wednesday -- down from $1.3463 in New York -- before edging back up to $1.3461.

It also dipped to 136.44 yen -- its lowest since February -- after closing in the US at 136.62 yen in US trade.

The dollar fetched 101.39 yen compared with 101.45 yen in New York.

Oil prices were lower. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery was down 33 cents at $102.06 a barrel in afternoon trade on the contract's first day of trading. Brent crude declined 12 cents to $107.23.

Gold fetched $1,307.17 an ounce by 1050 GMT compared with $1,306.89 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Wellington rose 0.25 per cent, or 12.66 points, to 5,146.53.

Telecom was up 1.93 per cent at NZ$2.90 and Warehouse Group eased 0.96 per cent to NZ$3.08.

-- Manila ended 0.33 per cent higher, adding 22.98 points to 6,892.92.

Universal Robina Corp. rallied 4.75 per cent to 165 pesos as the exchange lifted its suspension on trading after the food giant announced Monday that it was buying New Zealand snack-maker Griffin's for $610 million. Alliance Global Group gained 0.93 per cent to 27 pesos.

-- Taipei was closed because of Typhoon Matmo.

-- Mumbai advanced 0.47 per cent, or 121.53 points, to close at 26,147.33 points.

Financial Technologies India surged 9.99 per cent to end at 332.50 rupees and tyre maker MRF rose 7.27 per cent to end at 24,651.10 rupees.

-- Bangkok added 1.36 per cent or 20.75 points to 1,541.56.

Coal producer Banpu rose 3.28 per cent to 31.50 baht, while Siam Cement gained 2.20 per cent to 464.00 baht.

-- Singapore advanced 0.72 per cent, or 23.79 points, to close at 3,340.70.

United Overseas Bank rose 1.31 per cent to end at Sg$24.04 and Singapore Airlines finished 0.19 per cent lower at Sg$10.55.

-- Jakarta rose 0.19 per cent, or 9.71, to 5,093.23.

Mobile phone provider Indosat rose 1.01 per cent to 4,000 rupiah, while car maker Astra International fell 0.32 per cent to 7,700 rupiah.

-- Kuala Lumpur's main index edged up 0.47 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 1,871.83.

MISC added 1.7 per cent to 6.63 ringgit while UMW Holdings gained 0.9 per cent to 11.62. Malaysia Airlines shares slipped 2.2 per cent to 0.225 ringgit.