HONG KONG: Asian shares edged higher in quiet trade Tuesday, shrugging off eurozone debt worries even after Germany and the European Central Bank dampened hopes for action to drive down borrowing costs.
Tokyo’s Nikkei index added to the previous day’s gains, rising 0.13 percent as the dollar held on to recent gains against the yen amid a continued shift away from the safe haven Japanese currency.
Hong Kong was flat, Sydney climbed 0.67 percent, Shanghai was up 0.55 percent, and Seoul gained 0.47 percent.
German news weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday that the ECB was considering buying bonds issued by heavily-indebted eurozone countries in a move that would ensure borrowing costs did not rise beyond a pre-determined level.
But an ECB spokesman brushed aside the report as “absolutely misleading”, while another at the German finance ministry said such an action would be “be very problematic.”
Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, said such bond purchases “should be viewed critically and entail, not least, substantial stability policy risks”.
Borrowing costs for Spain and Italy have shot up towards levels that forced Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek a bailout.
European markets had advanced in early trading on the Der Spiegel report but turned down after ECB and German officials dismissed the story.
US stocks closed flat in quiet trade that still had enough might to push Apple to become the world’s most valuable company of all time with a total market value of $623.52 billion.
That surpassed the previous record of $619 billion set by software titan Microsoft in 1999, during the dot-com boom years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 3.56 points to close at 13,271.64.
The S&P 500-stock index lost a bare 0.03 points at 1,418.13, while the tech-rich Nasdaq edged down 0.38 points to 3,076.21.
In oil markets, New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for September delivery, fell eight cents to $95.89 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October gained 19 cents to $113.89.
Gold was at $1,621.69 at 0310 GMT, compared to $1,615.20 on Monday.