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MENAFN - AFP - 14/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Asian shares rose Wednesday as a Greek debt sale eased fears over the country's future and as dealers picked up bargains after a recent sell-off fuelled by concerns over the US "fiscal cliff".

The euro, which sank to a two-month low against the dollar in Europe on Tuesday, edged up against the greenback and yen as a little confidence returned to the market.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index ended almost flat, edging up 3.68 points to 8,664.73, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.02 percent, or 0.15 points, at 722.41.

Toyota Motor fell 0.81 percent to 3,060 yen after it issued a global recall of 2.77 million vehicles over water pump or steering problems, while watchmaker Seiko Holdings was down 10.4 percent at 172 yen after it lowered its earnings forecast for the full-year to March.

Shares in embattled electronics maker Sharp soared 7.23 percent to 163 yen following news reports it is in final talks for a cash injection of up to 500 million from US chip giant Intel.

Major contractor Obayashi rose 4.81 percent to 348 yen.

The Sydney index gained 0.20 percent, or 8.60 points, to 4,388.4 and Seoul rose 0.23 percent, or 4.34 points, to 1,894.04.

Hong Kong climbed 1.20 percent, or 253.34 points, to 21,441.99 and Shanghai rose 0.37 percent, or 7.53 points, to 2,055.42.

Regional markets have suffered big losses since last week's re-election of US President Barack Obama. Dealers fear a stand-off in Congress in addressing the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to come into force on January 1 unless a deal is brokered.

The package, drawn up during fraught spending cap talks last year, could tip the world's biggest economy back into recession.

Adding to the selling pressure is uncertainty over Greece after European finance chiefs put off for a week a decision on granting Athens the latest instalment of a multi-billion-euro bailout.

And in Germany a survey showed investor confidence had worsened in November as the region's crisis began to drag on its biggest economy.

However, there was some good news for Greece with the threat of a default this week receding after it raised 4.0 billion euros (5.1 billion) in short-term bond auctions, which should help plug a financing gap left by the stalled loan.

In forex trading the euro -- which touched a two-month low of 1.2662 in London -- bought 1.2732 in afternoon Asian trade from 1.2703 late Tuesday in New York.

The European single unit also rose to 101.77 yen from 100.85 yen, while the dollar firmed to 79.92 yen from 79.38 yen.

On Japan's Nikkei, troubled electronics firm Sharp surged on news reports that it is in final talks with chip giant Intel over a possible 500 million cash injection by the US firm.

In China eyes were on the Communist Party's latest congress, which ended Wednesday after approving its next leadership -- to be announced Thursday -- with investors hoping for an indication of future economic policy.

"Once that's known it will set the tone a bit. If there is a reform-minded set-up then that gives Chinese markets some support," Lorraine Tan, vice president of Asia research at S&P Capital IQ in Singapore, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Wall Street finished in the red Tuesday. The Dow dropped 0.46 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.40 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.70 percent.

Oil prices were higher. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery, was up 17 cents to 85.55 a barrel in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December added seven cents to 108.33.

Gold was at 1,725.78 by 0900 GMT compared with 1,726.30 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.33 percent, or 23.70 points, to 7,159.75.

HTC climbed 4.0 percent to Tw234.0, while TSMC was 0.22 percent higher at Tw90.5.

-- Manila ended flat, dipping 4.83 points to 5,451.09.

SM Investments fell 0.49 percent to 814 pesos and Alliance Global rose 0.8 percent to 15.12 pesos.

-- Wellington closed 0.38 percent lower, or 14.99 points, to end at 3,955.56.

Telecom was down 0.84 percent at NZ2.375, Fletcher Building was off 0.94 percent at NZ734 and Contact Energy was flat at NZ5.27.

-- Singapore closed down 0.98 percent, or 29.54 points to 2,978.03.

Singapore Telecoms shed 0.94 percent to Sg3.16, and while Keppel Corp added 0.98 percent to Sg10.30.

-- Kuala Lumpur lost 5.91 points, or 0.36 percent, to close at 1,631.68.

Genting eased 3.3 percent to 9.18 ringgit, PPB Group dived 3 percent to 12.20, and UEM Land Holdings gained 1.9 percent to close at 2.17 ringgit.

-- Bangkok lost 0.76 percent or 9.78 points to 1,279.29.

Banpu fell 3.73 percent to 361.00 baht, while Siam Cement dropped 2.34 percent to 375.00 baht.

-- Jakarta ended up 19.2 points, or 0.44 percent, to 4,351.284.

Semen Gresik rose 1.36 percent to 14,900 rupiah, Astra International climbed 1.31 percent to 7,750 rupiah and Timah ended up 2.21 percent at 1,390 rupiah.

-- Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.


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