Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ASIA-Shares may lift as markets find feet and stabilise

WELLINGTON: Asian stocks will probably be cautiously firmer on Tuesday as global markets looked to steady and managed slight gains after four weeks of solid losses.

Wall Street struggled higher led by large-cap TECHNOLOGY [] stocks and industrials, although gains faded late in the session. The main indices closed between flat and 0.3 percent higher.

Investors still favoured the safety of gold, which hit a record high near $1,900 an ounce, and the volatility in stocks was seen emphasising the skittishness of sentiment.

Hopes are now directed on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech on Aug. 26 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, amid speculation that he may point to new steps to support the U.S. economy.

Asian stocks listed on Wall Street rose 0.17 percent, while world stocks, as measured by the MSCI world equity index, fell 0.1 percent, and emerging markets stocks fell 0.4 percent.

British shares rose 1.1 percent on bargain hunting, while European shares gained 0.8 percent.

The U.S. dollar fell against commodity currencies, notably the New Zealand and Australian dollars, with risk appetite improving on hopes the Federal Reserve may move to stimulate the U.S. economy.

Japanese markets fell to a five-month low on Monday, but held above the closing low after the March earthquake and tsunami, which gives scope for a rebound. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago 40 points above the last closing level in Osaka.

Australian stocks are likely to be cautious but may follow Wall St's lead to shake off the recent losing streak. Share price index futures are marginally higher but remain at 4.3 point discount to the close of the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index. ' Reuters



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