Asian stocks rebound from heavy losses
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Asian stocks rebound from heavy losses

Asian markets saw a mild bounce on Thursday after suffering heavy selling pressure this week, but traders remain on edge ahead of an expected military strike on Syria.

business Updated: Aug 29, 2013 09:18 IST

Asian markets saw a mild bounce on Thursday after suffering heavy selling pressure this week, but traders remain on edge ahead of an expected military strike on Syria.

The dollar also benefited as fears eased over the impact of an attack on the Middle Eastern country, which is accused of using chemical weapons on its own people.

Rupee was slightly off record lows touched Wednesday as investors fret over the country's stuttering economy as well as the future of the US Federal Reserve's stimulus programme.

Tokyo rose 0.48 percent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.58 percent, Shanghai gained 0.42 percent and Seoul rallied 1.25 percent but Sydney shed 0.28 percent.

Buying sentiment was given a boost by a rally on Wall Street, which ended three days of losses, as energy companies benefited from a surge in oil prices.

The Dow rose 0.34 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.29 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.41 percent.

Obama, who had warned the use of chemical weapons by Syria would cross a "red line", said Washington had definitively concluded that the Assad regime was to blame for last week's attack that killed hundreds of people.

However, he said Wednesday he had not yet decided whether to strike.

His comments, which were more cautious than recent statements, come as political uproar in London cast doubt on whether Britain will join any such action.

Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires: "Excessive risk aversion is unwinding."

Anxiety about Syria initially caused the dollar to weaken earlier this week as investors bought alternative safe-haven currencies including the Swiss franc and yen.

"I think the general feeling is that the United States won't be as heavily involved in Syria as it was when it invaded Iraq back in 2003," he said.

Crude prices edged lower after surging Wednesday on fears of a supply shortage in the oil-rich Middle East caused by any military intervention.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, was down 71 cents to $109.39 a barrel after spiking at a two-year high of $112.24 the previous day.

Brent North Sea crude for October shed 75 cents to $115.86. The contract peaked at six-month high of $117.34 Wednesday.

Thursday's pick-up also provided some respite for stocks in emerging markets, which have been hammered in recent weeks on expectations of an end to the Fed's stimulus, which has fuelled an investment splurge in the region over the past year.

Jakarta was up 1.10 percent, Manila added 0.80 percent and Kuala Lumpur climbed 0.53 percent.

The Indian rupee was also better off, sitting at 68.82 to the dollar after tapping 69.22 Wednesday.

However, the unit remains strained owing to ongoing troubles in the domestic economy.

The dollar bought 97.88 yen in early trade, compared with 97.72 yen in New York and well up from the low 97-yen levels in Tokyo Wednesday.

The euro fetched $1.3327 and 130.42 yen compared with $1.3341 and 130.36 yen.

Gold cost $1,409.35 an ounce, near a three-month high, at 0220 GMT, up from $1,422.90 late Wednesday.

First Published: Aug 29, 2013 08:39 IST