Asian shares gain as tensions drop

Hong Kong - Asian shares closed mostly higher on Tuesday, tracking rallies on Wall Street and in Europe as easing geopolitical tensions lifted investor confidence.

Tokyo gained 0.20% to 15 161.31, extending its recovery from sharp falls last week fuelled by Washington's announcement that it had authorised air strikes in Iraq.

Sydney jumped 1.34% to 5 530.30, Seoul rose 0.10% to 2 041.47 and Hong Kong gained 0.18% to 24 689.41.

But Shanghai slipped 0.14% to 2 221.59 as investors locked in profits following recent gains.

Bangkok was closed for a public holiday.

US President Barack Obama, who reluctantly ordered the air strikes last week to beat back rampaging Islamic State extremists, welcomed the nomination of a new Iraqi prime minister Monday to replace controversial leader Nuri al-Maliki.

Obama voiced hope that a new Iraqi leadership would forge an "inclusive government" and begin to ease the sectarian divisions that have fuelled the crisis.

Investors were also tracking the crisis in conflict-torn Ukraine as concerns persisted over a possible Russian military incursion.

Russia said Monday it would send a humanitarian convoy to the east of the country, despite strong warnings from the West that Moscow should not act alone in case the operation is a cover for sending in troops.

Russia insists its military would not be involved in the convoy, but Kiev said Moscow could only play a role as part of a broader Red Cross mission.

US stocks finished higher on Monday as subsiding geopolitical tensions boosted market confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.10% to 16 569.98, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.28% to 1 936.92.

Dollar rallies

On currency markets, the dollar rallied against the yen and euro after the unit fell in the wake of last week's announcement of US air strikes.

The dollar was at ¥102.29 in afternoon trade compared with ¥102.21 in New York late on Monday.

The euro was quoted at $1.3375 and ¥136.81, from $1.3383 and ¥136.79 in New York.

On oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery eased 33 cents to $97.75 while Brent crude for September was down 38c to $104.30 in afternoon trade.

Gold traded at $1 312.30 an ounce at 12:45 compared to $1 307.68 an ounce on Monday.

In other markets:

- Taipei shed 0.11% to 9 163.12.

TSMC rose 0.83% to Tw$121.5 while HTC fell 0.79% to Tw$125.5.

- Manila closed up 0.39% at 6 983.49.

Top-traded Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co gained 1.17% to 3 116 pesos while Ayala Land rose 2.09% to 31.70 pesos.

- Wellington rose 0.12% to 5 055.81.

Chorus was up 0.29% at NZ$1.735 and Fletcher Building gained 1.02% to NZ$8.90.

- Singapore eased 0.09% to 3 303.39.

DBS Bank rose 0.45% to Sg$18.04 while agribusiness company Wilmar International was down 0.93% to Sg$3.19.

- Kuala Lumpur added 1.07 points to 1 850.39.

Malayan Banking gained 0.10% to 9.94 ringgit, Public Bank rose 0.11% to 19.00 while Malaysian Airline System declined 1.92% to 0.26 ringgit.

- Jakarta advanced 0.37% to 5 132.395.

State miner Aneka Tambang rose 0.81% to 1 250 rupiah, while palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari slipped 0.94% to 26 250 rupiah.

- Mumbai climbed 1.42% to 25 880.77.

Eicher Motors rose 7.94% to 9 280.85 rupees while Ramco Cements jumped 7.77% to 294.60 rupees.

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