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FINANCIAL ROUNDUP: Most Asian Markets Advance, With Hong Kong and Shanghai Leading Way

May 26, 2015
Hong Kong and Shanghai mark their highest closes in 89 and 88 months, respectively, while the euro slips because of Greece and Blackberry announces more layoffs.

HONG KONG — Major Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday, with Hong Kong and Shanghai leading the way, while Tokyo marked an eighth straight gain to a 15-year high.

Greece’s snail-pace talks with creditors over reforming its bailout conditions continue to weigh on the euro, with little sign of a deal in sight despite a repayment deadline next week.

Hong Kong added 0.92%, or 257.03 points, to 28,249.86, its highest close since December 2007 — and Shanghai jumped 2.02%, or 97.10 points, to 4,910.90, its highest since January 2008.

The indexes were boosted by hopes for fresh Chinese measures to boost the economy, as well as Beijing’s decision Friday to relax rules on access to mainland financial markets.

Tokyo ended up 0.12%, or 23.71 points, at 20,437.48 helped by a weaker yen, hopes for corporate earnings and the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy.

Sydney gained 0.91%, or 51.9 points, to close at 5,773.4. But Seoul slipped 0.12%, or 2.60 points, to 2,143.50.

With Wall Street and most European markets closed Monday for public holidays there were few catalysts outside Asia to drive business.

But Shanghai added to a more than 3% rise Monday while Hong Kong was supported by an announcement Friday that Hong Kong and China would allow cross-border sales of investment funds to retail investors from July 1.

EURO HIT BY GREECE FEARS: Traders are awaiting the release of key U.S. data this week, including revised economic growth for the first quarter and durable goods orders.

The results will provide more of a clue about the Federal Reserve’s timetable for raising interest rates. The central bank’s chief Janet Yellen said Friday she expects a rise “at some point this year” although she warned there were still weaknesses in the economy.

On currency markets the dollar was at 122.55 yen compared with 121.66 yen Monday. The euro slipped to $1.0900 from $1.0980. It was at 133.56 yen compared to 133.60 yen.

Investors are warily watching Greece’s talks with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have dragged on for months with little progress.

STRUGGLING BLACKBERRY ANNOUNCES NEW ROUND OF LAYOFFS: MONTREAL — BlackBerry is laying off an unspecified number of its 7,000 workers around the world as the struggling smartphone manufacturer tries to make its device business profitable. 

The Canadian company, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said the cuts will impact those working on the software, hardware and applications side of the business.

“As the company moves into its next stage of the turnaround, our intention is to reallocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business,” BlackBerry said in a statement to AFP on Saturday.

BlackBerry, which only a decade ago was a titan in the smartphone business, has been forced into a major reorganization focusing more on software and services since being overtaken in the market for mobile devices. An IDC survey showed BlackBerry managed to capture just 0.4% of global smartphone sales in 2014.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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