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Asia shares mostly up after US stocks dip

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Asian shares were mostly higher on Friday as Japanese stocks hit a fresh multi-year high after Wall Street dipped on weaker-than-expected economic data.

The dollar gained slightly in Asia as investors cautiously adjusted their positions following the unit's recent surge, with brokers saying plenty of players, including importers, were willing to buy on dips.

Tokyo gained 0.67 percent or 100.88 points to 15,138.12, Sydney rose 0.29 percent or 15.14 points to 5,180.8, while Shanghai jumped 1.38 percent or 31.06 points to 2,282.87.

Hong Kong and Seoul markets were closed for public holidays.

In the week to May 17, Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 3.63 percent or 530.58 points to finish at 15,138.12, the best close in more than five years.

Japanese shares are likely to gain further next week on robust investor appetite as confidence grows in the government's ability to deliver economic growth, analysts said.

"Profit-taking can emerge from time to time but that can be easily erased by those who are eager to buy on dips," Takero Inaizumi, strategist at Mizuho Securities said.

In announcing the second batch of his pro-growth proposals after the market close, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday offered plans for spurring capital spending by the private sector.

Meanwhile US investors took a pause on Thursday from a recent winning streak, selling off after a disappointing earnings report from Walmart and some middling economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.28 percent to 15,233.22, while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.50 percent to 1,650.47.

Investors were also unimpressed by a rise in initial jobless claims by 32,000 to 360,000. New building permits soared in April, but housing starts plummeted.

Most of the data "point more on the disappointing side of the ledger and may give markets a reason to sell off", said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates, a money management firm.

"There's also been a lot of positive momentum here recently and I think the market's taking a little bit of a breather here," he said.

The dollar was slightly up at 102.28 yen in afternoon Asian trade against 102.22 yen in New York late Thursday. The euro bought $1.2864 and 131.57 yen against $1.2886 and 131.72 yen in US trade.

Oil was down in Asian trade, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June dropping 25 cents to $94.91 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shedding 27 cents to $103.51.

Gold was at $1,379.02 at 1055 GMT compared with $1,374.10 late on Thursday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei fell 0.26 percent, or 21.86 points, to 8,368.19.

Acer rose 1.66 percent to Tw$24.55 while HTC fell 1.72 percent to Tw$285.0.

-- Wellington fell 0.82 percent, or 38.19 points, to 4,597.84.

Telecom Corp dropped 3.92 percent to NZ$2.45, Fletcher Building slid 2.76 percent to NZ$8.44 and Mainfreight remained steady on NZ$10.20.

-- Manila shed 0.43 percent, or 31.07 points, to 7,279.87.

Metro Pacific Investments dropped 0.49 percent to 6.09 pesos while Alliance Global Group fell 2.26 percent to 26 pesos.

-- Singapore dropped 0.09 percent, or 2.98 points, to 3,449.30.

Singapore Airlines dropped 4.54 percent to Sg$10.93 and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation shed 0.18 percent to Sg$11.17.

-- Bangkok added 0.62 percent or 10.07 points to 1,627.96.

Telecoms company Shin Corporation jumped 7.76 percent to 97.25 baht, while food industry Minor International rose 7.69 percent to 28.00 baht.

-- Kuala Lumpur rose 0.14 percent, or 2.44 points, to 1,769.16.

AirAsia added 0.6 percent to 3.20 ringgit, while SapuraKencana Petroleum gained 1.4 percent to 3.72.

-- Jakarta ended up 1.32 percent, or 67.01 points, to 5,145.68.

Telekomunikasi Indonesia rose 0.42 percent to 11,950 rupiah, while Bank Negara Indonesia fell 1.85 percent to 5,300 rupiah.

-- India's Sensex index closed up 0.19 percent or 38.79 points at 20,286.12 points.

JM Financial Ltd closed up 13.38 percent at 26.70 rupees and Tata Motors flat at 303.35 rupees.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130517/asia-shares-mostly-after-us-stocks-dip