Asian markets mostly up but profit-takers sit in wings

Hong Kong (AFP) –


Asian stock markets edged up again Monday following another record close on Wall Street but the gains were tempered by profit-taking following last week's global rally.

Expectations that central banks around the world will introduce fresh stimulus for their economies lit a fire under equities and high-risk assets last week, while confidence was given a further boost by another round of upbeat US data.

Official figures Friday showed US retail sales beating forecasts, reinforcing the view that the world's number one economy is getting back on track. The report came a week after a blockbuster reading on June jobs creation.

The impressive figures have raised the possibility of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike before the end of the year, something that was considered highly unlikely in the immediate aftermath of Britain's decision to leave the EU, which sent world markets initially tumbling.

Hong Kong added 0.1 percent after a five-day rally, while Shanghai was down 0.2 percent with Friday's better-than-expected Chinese economic growth reading unable to maintain buyers' interest. Seoul was barely moved, while Sydney added 0.3 percent.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

The broadly positive outlook sent the dollar rising to 105.59 yen from 104.79 yen Friday in New York. The pound, which has been under pressure since the shock June 23 Brexit vote, also made inroads after hitting a 31-year low earlier in the month. On Monday it edged up to $1.3246 from $1.3174.

Turkey's lira also climbed after an attempted coup in the country failed at the weekend. The currency rose 1.6 percent against the greenback.

The uprising started two hours before trade in the currency stopped for the weekend, sending the lira plunging 4.6 percent, its sharpest rate for eight years.

- Key figures at 0230 GMT -

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 21,686.31

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 at 3,048.45

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.59 yen from 104.79 yen Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3246 from $1.3174

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1057 from $1.1041

New York - DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 18,516.55 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,669.24 (close)