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Asia stocks up on Fed hopes; Irene spares NYC

HONG KONG: Asian stocks rose on Monday morning, after the recent sell-off while the dollar struggled after U. S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke left the door open for further action to stimulate the economy and fight high unemployment. Gains in equities were also supported by firmer U. S. stock futures after Hurricane Irene, downgraded to tropical storm status, spared the nations financial centre the worst.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index rose 1. 9 percent led by cyclicals sectors such as materials and energy. South Koreas KOSPI , the Asian market considered to be the most geared to a global economic recovery, led gains and was up 2. 8 percent. Japans Nikkei edged up 0. 5 percent on subdued volumes ahead of a leadership election in the ruling party that will decide the countrys next prime minister. Stubbornly high unemployment coupled with the possibility of more monetary stimulus in the U. S. kept the dollar under pressure in Asian trading. The dollar index a measure of its strength against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, last stood at 73. 755, having fallen from Fridays peak of 74. 464. Against the yen, the greenback traded at 76. 69 yen , recoiling from a recent high around 77. 69. In commodity markets, Brent crude fell below $111 on Monday as oil refiners and terminals along the U. S. east coast weathered the worst of a tropical storm, easing fears of fuel supply disruptions in the worlds top oil consumer. NYMEX crude for October delivery was flat. Spot gold fell 0. 3 percent to $1,821. 99 an ounce retreating slightly from an over 3 percent rally in the previous session. 


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