Most major Asia markets rise; Nikkei extends gains – CNBC

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Analysts pointed to weak data stateside as causing the overnight drop in the dollar. Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist with the National Australia Bank, said in a note, “softer U.S. housing data boosted the case for a lower-for-longer Fed, weakening the big dollar along the way.”

The dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, closed the overnight session at 93.976. During Asian hours on Wednesday morning, the index pared some losses to trade up 94.064. That compares with levels around 94.827 touched Monday.

Catril also added the Japanese yen was the only currency weaker against the dollar overnight, while commodity-related currencies advanced. The dollar/yen finished at 109.17 in the previous session, compared with the 108 level it touched on Tuesday during Asian hours.

As of 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN time Wednesday, the yen retraced some declines, with the dollar/yen pair trading at 108.94, a 0.21 percent drop from its previous close.

Stephen Innes, a senior foreign exchange trader at OANDA, said, “I think we are starting to see pricing of speculative shorts [on the yen] for a few reasons.”

“The market didn’t break below the key 107.50 handle on Monday and gradually found support as oil prices started to stabilize,” Innes explained in a note. “Add in the backdrop of higher U.S. yields from the buoyant Dow and a resurgent Nikkei.”

Major Japanese exporters were mixed, with shares of Toyota down 0.28 percent, Nissan up 0.15 percent, Honda lower by 0.29 percent and Sony adding 3.38 percent. While a weaker yen is a positive for exporters, as it boosts their overseas profits when converted to the local currency, many of these exporters were recently affected by the multiple earthquakes that hit the south of Japan late last week.

The likes of Sony, Toyota and Honda have all had to suspend plants in the affected region, with Toyota announcing on Sunday it would suspend production on its vehicle assembly lines in stages, between April 18 and April 23, due to supply shortages resulting from the quakes.

Down Under, the Australian dollar retreated from its last close at $0.7811 to trade down 0.32 percent at $0.7786 as of 10:04 a.m. HK/SIN time. The Aussie had received a boost from higher oil prices overnight, according to analysts.

In Asian hours, however, oil prices retreated. Global benchmark Brent futures fell 1.54 percent to $43.35 a barrel, after settling up at $44.03 overnight. U.S. crude shed 1.85 percent to $40.32 as of 10:06 a.m. HK/SIN time, after finishing higher by $1.30 during U.S. hours.

Most major Asia markets rise; Nikkei extends gains – CNBC}