Published:  12:14 AM, 14 February 2018

Asian markets mostly up, investors remain wary

Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday, tracking another rally in New York after last week's battering, but early gains were tempered and Tokyo ended down on lingering uncertainty and worries about further turmoil.

While some stability has returned to trading floors, investors are keeping a nervous eye on the release this week of key US inflation data, which many fear could spark another round of blood-letting.

Global markets have been sent into spasms this month as the yield on US Treasury bills has risen to four-year highs, with Federal Reserve interest rates expected to be hiked further this year owing to a purring economy and rising wages.

There are also warnings that the yield on US T-bills could spike to 3.5 percent, according to Bloomberg News, which would mark a level not seen since 2010. But Asian traders were broadly optimistic on Tuesday, though they pared morning gains.

Hong Kong rose 1.3 percent and Shanghai finished one percent higher as dealers in China begin to wind down ahead of the long Lunar New Year break.  Sydney climbed 0.6 percent, Singapore jumped more than one percent and Seoul was up 0.4 percent.

Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok and Wellington were also well up. In early European trade, London was 0.2 percent higher, Paris added 0.1 percent and Frankfurt was flat. Dealers were given a positive cue from Wall Street and Europe, where all major indexes finished more than one percent higher.

Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said: "Equity markets have begun the week on a somewhat positive note picking up from Friday's rebound as bargain hunters have returned on the first sign of stability.

"The market is trying to find a positive equilibrium, and if we can get through this week's critical US (inflation data) relatively unscathed, then it would most certainly look as if last week was little more than a corrective episode rather than the commencement of a bear market."

-AFP, Hong Kong

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