Asian shares mixed after record close on Wall St

Asian shares mixed after record close on Wall St

HONG KONG - Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with a record-breaking close on Wall Street offset by profit-taking after the previous day's broad gains.

Japan's Nikkei edged higher, however, as traders bought back into the dollar following comments from the head of the US Federal Reserve that its stimulus programme would be kept in place for some time.

Tokyo rose 0.23 per cent, or 33.67 points, to 14,506.25 and Sydney added 0.17 per cent, or 8.2 points, to close at 4,973.9. But Seoul dipped 0.41 per cent, or 7.62 points, to 1,869.98

Shanghai fell 1.62 per cent, or 33.51 points, to 2,039.49 as profit-takers moved in after enjoying a more than three per cent rally Thursday. Hong Kong slipped 0.74 per cent in late trade.

Regional sentiment was largely positive after the Dow and S&P 500 surged to new highs on Wall Street as investors cheered Ben Bernanke's statement that the Fed would continue its bond-buying "for the foreseeable future".

While he said the economy was showing signs of strength, Bernanke was still concerned about high unemployment and inflation.

The Dow surged 1.11 per cent and the S&P 500 rallied 1.36 per cent, while the Nasdaq added 1.63 per cent to end at its highest level since September 2000.

Bernanke's comments came as a surprise, with most economists expecting the bank to begin winding down the easy-money scheme that was introduced in September and has fuelled a rally in global markets.

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