By Daniel Inman
Stocks in Japan and Australia climbed Wednesday, with Sydney edging toward a five-year high, as the threat of U.S. military intervention in Syria appeared to diminish.
Syria said that it would stop making chemical weapons and reveal the location of its stockpiles in an attempt to avoid a military attack on the country.
Fears of a U.S. military strike on Syria have weighed on market sentiment in recent weeks, but the rising possibility of a diplomatic solution this week has contributed to substantial gains for global markets.
An address to the nation by President Barack Obama, broadcast early on Wednesday in Asia, also gave some markets a push. Obama said that he had asked Congress to postpone a vote on action and that he has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with his Russian counterpart.
The easing tension was reflected in a weaker yen, an asset that investors flock to in times of turmoil. The dollar (USDJPY) pushed 0.8% higher against the Japanese currency Tuesday, but gave up some of those gains by late in Asia -- last at Yen100.27 compared with Yen100.38 late Tuesday in New York.
Rising 0.6% to 5,234.40, the S&P/ASX 200 edged closer to a five-year high of 5,249.6 reached in mid-May, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5%.
Australian stocks have been helped by a string of consistently upbeat economic data from China, the main consumer of the country's natural resources.
Over the weekend, China posted strong export growth for August, which was followed by an acceleration in industrial output on Tuesday. Both measures reinforced the case for a recovery in Asia's largest economy, leading to gains in the region's stocks.
Signs of a recovering economy kept stocks in mainland China higher, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.2%, though Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.2%, giving up some of its gains from earlier in the week.
The weaker yen initially supported Japanese stocks, which hit a seven-week high early in the afternoon session, before giving up most of its gains by the end of the day. The Nikkei finished less than two points higher at 14,425.07, after gaining 4.1% on Monday and Tuesday.
Construction companies, which have rallied this week after Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games, pulled back. Kajima Corp. (KAJMF) fell 3.3%, and Taisei Corp. dropped 4.6%.
Shares in companies that supply to Apple (AAPL) fell Wednesday after the U.S. technology giant's underwhelming launch of its new iPhone models. Murata Manufacturing Co. (6981.OK) fell 3.3% in Tokyo and AAC Technologies Holdings (2018.HK) lost 4.2% in Hong Kong.
-Daniel Inman; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
09-11-13 0525ETCopyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
|UPDATE: Asian shares mostly rise; Sydney nears 5-year high (2013/9/11)|
|Asian shares mostly rise; Sydney nears 5-year high (2013/9/10)|
|Asia stocks mostly higher; Sydney at 5-year high (2013/9/26)|
|UPDATE: Asian stocks mostly rise, helped by Shanghai (2013/10/8)|
|UPDATE: Asian shares mostly lower on China concerns (2013/10/24)|
|UPDATE: U.S. stocks mostly lower; yields hit 2-year highs (2013/8/19)|
|UPDATE: Europe stocks rally to more than 5-year high (2013/9/16)|
|UPDATE: Asian shares lower, but Apple suppliers rise (2013/9/23)|
|ASIA MARKETS: Asian Stocks Mostly Rise, Helped By Shanghai (2013/10/8)|
|UPDATE: European stocks rise to 5-year high (2013/9/11)|
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