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Asian markets started the June quarter on the front foot, overcoming a negative lead from Wall Street on Friday.
A closely-watched survey from the Bank of Japan pointed to stable growth for the country’s large manufacturers. The central bank’s Tankan survey also showed a mild improvement in conditions among medium- and small-sized enterprises.
Manufacturers predicted the yen to average ¥107.3 per dollar in the March survey, a weakening from the December quarter’s ¥104.9. In morning trade, the yen was flat at ¥111.38 after a 0.5 per cent gain on Friday.
In Monday trade, the dollar index was up 0.1 per cent at 100.24, while the euro added 0.2 per cent to $1.0677. The British pound shed 0.1 per cent to $1.2535 and the Australian dollar was 0.2 per cent lower at $0.7614 after a weak reading on retail sales data.
Following a volatile week in which South Africa’s finance minister was dismissed by President Jacob Zuma, the rand was down 0.1 per cent at 13.42 against the greenback.
Japan’s benchmark Topix was up 0.4 per cent in morning trade, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.1 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent, while mainland Chinese markets were shut for a public holiday.
On Friday, the S&P 500 ended 0.2 per cent lower, but global stocks in general enjoyed a good March quarter. The FTSE All World index gained 6.4 per cent during the first three months of 2017, the best start to a year since 2012.
Oil prices were slightly weaker on Monday, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, down 0.1 per cent at $53.48 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate fractionally lower at $50.59.
Gold was down 0.1 per cent at $1,247.83 an ounce.
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