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Asian markets mixed after week’s rally

Asian markets were mixed on Friday/FILE

HONG KONG, Oct 19 – Asian markets were mixed on Friday as a week-long rally fuelled by upbeat data out of China and rising hopes for the future of the eurozone was stalled by profit-taking.

Investors did not seem to be immediately moved by news out of Europe that leaders had reached a deal on a banking union within the trading bloc.

Tokyo closed 0.22 percent higher, adding 19.82 points to 9,002.68, Sydney rose 0.26 percent, or 11.7 points, to 4,571.1 and Hong Kong was 0.15 percent, or 33.05 points, higher at 21,551.76.

But Seoul lost 0.78 percent, or 15.28 points, to end at 1,943.84 and Shanghai eased 0.16 percent, or 3.39 points, to 2,128.30.

Traders took a breather after regional markets enjoyed a strong rally this week following data from China indicating the world’s number two economy may have bottomed out, while woes in Spain and Greece also looked to have eased.

China said Thursday its economy grew in the third quarter at its slowest pace since early 2009, but it was in line with expectations, while other indicators pointed to an upturn in the next three months.

That followed figures at the weekend showing exports surged in September.

In Europe a decision by Moody’s not to downgrade Spain’s credit rating, and reports that Madrid was edging closer to asking for rescue money, lifted confidence that the region’s debt crisis was being addressed.

Talks between Greece and its international creditors on giving the country more time to implement much-needed reforms also looked to be progressing.

And on Friday in Brussels European leaders vowed to set up a banking union throughout 2013, with diplomats saying a final summit statement would commit EU states to “agreeing” on a supervisor for eurozone lenders by the end of the year.

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A French government source said the European Central Bank would be tasked with supervising all of the 6,000 eurozone banks, but that its role would only come into effect “from the beginning of 2014”.

The slow pace of implementation was seen as a weakness in the plan, which had no real effect on Asian shares Friday.

On currency markets the euro held up after a week of gains. It bought $1.3068 and 103.64 yen, compared with $1.3067 and 103.60 yen in New York late Thursday.

The dollar was at 79.35 yen against 79.28 yen.

Oil prices were down. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, was down 10 cents to $92.00 a barrel in morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December was six cents lower at $112.36.

Gold was at $1,736.60 at 0800 GMT compared with $1,736.30 late Thursday.

In other markets:

— Taipei fell 0.76 percent, or 56.65 points, to 7,408.76.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 1.59 percent to Tw$86.7 while Hon Hai Precision was 1.94 percent lower at Tw$85.8.

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— Manila closed flat, edging down 3.58 points to 5,432.36.

Alcorn Gold Resources slid 6.38 percent to 13 centavos while Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. dropped 0.30 percent to 2,670 pesos.

Ayala Land fell 1.07 percent to 23.20 pesos.

— Wellington slipped 0.34 percent, or 13.79 points, to 3,988.16.

Sky City added 1.0 percent to NZ$3.99, Fletcher Building fell 2.9 percent to NZ$7.37 and Fisher & Paykel Appliances was flat at NZ$1.27.

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