HONG KONG: Asian markets slipped on Wednesday, taking a breather from impressive gains at the start of the week, while renewed concerns of a US-led strike on Syria also added to selling pressure.
The losses came despite a positive close on Wall Street, while the dollar held up against the yen thanks to a string of upbeat manufacturing data from China, Europe and the United States.
Tokyo, which rose more than four percent on Monday and Tuesday, fell 0.76 percent, while Hong Kong lost 0.99 percent, Sydney shed 0.71 percent and Seoul eased 0.31 percent. Shanghai was flat.
Asia got off to a strong start in September after weekend figures showed activity in China’s factories at their highest level in 16 months, while eurozone manufacturing was at its highest for more than two years.
On Tuesday there were similar results from the United States, adding to growing confidence of a pick-up in developed nations, which investors hope can kickstart a global trend.
The economic data comes as welcome news after a tough August that saw widespread selling — mainly in emerging economies — as dealers bet the US Federal Reserve will soon being to wind down its stimulus programme.
On their first day of trade after the long Labor Day weekend, shares on Wall Street advanced, with the Dow up 0.16 percent, the S&P 500 adding 0.42 percent and the Nasdaq 0.63 percent higher.
The improved outlook has helped the dollar push back towards the 100 yen level not seen since July. In early Asian trade the greenback bought 99.60 yen compared with 99.54 yen in New York Tuesday, and well up from the sub-96 mark seen last week.
The euro bought $1.3167 and 131.10 yen, against $1.3170 and 131.14 yen.
However, worries about Syria returned to the fore after Republican House Speaker John Boehner and his right hand man Eric Cantor said they would support a strike on the country over its alleged use of chemical weapons on its own people.