Asian Shares Rise as Syria Tensions Ease

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Asian stocks rose Tuesday, ahead of a fresh round of Chinese economic data and signs that Syrian tensions are easing.

Wall Street ended Monday higher, helped in part by hopes that the threat of a U.S. military intervention in the Middle East could be abating, as Syria welcomed a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control, though it didn’t indicate whether it would comply.

The price of oil fell 0.8% in Asia to $108.62 a barrel.

The dollar was steady against the yen on Tuesday — last at ¥99.53, keeping most of its 0.5% gain in the previous session.

The Nikkei was up 1%, adding to a 2.5% jump in the previous session sparked by Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The Olympic effect was still evident in Tuesday’s trading, with construction-sector firms continuing to rally on expectations that the event will create new demand. Kajima Corporation jumped 9.9% and Taisei Corporation shot up 12.3%.

In Tokyo, department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings rose 0.7%, after the Nikkei reported that group operating profit for fiscal 2013 is likely to rise 30% to around ¥35 billion, exceeding company guidance.

Suntory Beverage & Food underperformed the Tokyo stock market slightly, rising 0.7%, after agreeing to buy drink brands Lucozade and Ribena from GlaxoSmithKline for GBP1.35 billion.

China remained in focus ahead of its next installment of economic data, with figures on industrial output and retail spending due later in the session.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite was flat.

The recent string of numbers out of China have pointed to a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, which went through a period of weakness earlier in the summer. Most recently, rising exports and subdued inflation helped give regional stocks a boost Monday — especially in Shanghai where stocks rose 3.4%, the biggest percentage gain for the year.

Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong have benefited the most, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index up 8.3% so far this month.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 0.4% after National Australia Bank’s monthly business confidence index in August rose to its highest level in two years, as it became clearer that the country would get a conservative government. The Australian dollar also got a mild boost from the news, rising to US$0.9245.

South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4%.

 

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