HONG KONG: Asian markets were generally higher Tuesday, their third consecutive positive session, amid continued hopes for new stimulus measures by European and US central banks.
Wall Street was fractionally down overnight, but Tokyo rose 0.51 percent by the break, Hong Kong was up 0.81 percent, Sydney was 0.79 percent higher, and Seoul was 1.42 percent stronger, although Shanghai was down 0.17 percent.
Taipei was up 0.70 percent, despite government figures showing the economy shrank by 0.16 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, its first contraction since late 2009.
Hopes for new rounds of monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve have been heightened by weak US growth data, while European leaders and ECB chief Mario Draghi have pledged to do whatever is necessary to protect the euro.
The Federal Open Market Committee was to start a two-day meeting later Tuesday, after the US government reported last week that growth in the world's biggest economy slowed to 1.5 percent in the second quarter, from 2.0 percent in the first quarter.
On Thursday, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank (ECB) will unveil their latest monetary policy decisions, as both grapple with fallout from the ongoing eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
"It's all about the ECB," Chris Weston, institutional dealer at IG Markets in Australia, told Dow Jones Newswires.
He said Draghi's pledge to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro had "made people believe we will see a strong policy response".
US President Barack Obama said late Monday that the eurozone had to take "decisive steps" to deal with the crisis.
"I'm spending an enormous amount of time trying to work with them -- and (US Treasury Secretary) Tim Geithner is spending a lot of time working with them -- to recognise that the sooner they take some decisive action, the better off we're going to be," Obama told campaign donors.
On Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 13,073.01, drifting down 0.02 percent, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.05 percent to 1,385.30 and the Nasdaq was off 0.41 percent at 2,945.84.