Asian stocks rise after upbeat US Fed economy report

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday, following an upbeat Federal Reserve report on the United States economy and positive European growth data, but gains were capped by profit-taking and lingering concerns over Syria.

While a positive outlook has lifted sentiment, helping the US dollar rise above 100 yen, traders remain on edge about the Fed's plans for its stimulus programme, with concerns it will soon start a wind-down.

Tokyo closed flat, edging up 10.95 points to 14,064.82, with little reaction after the Bank of Japan upgraded its assessment of the world's No. 3 economy. Seoul finished up 0.96 per cent, or 18.62 points, at 1,951.65, while Hong Kong rose 1.22 per cent, or 271.75 points, to 22,597.97. Sydney slipped 0.37 per cent, or 19.1 points, to 5,142.5, while Shanghai was down 0.24 per cent, giving up 5.19 points to 2,122.43.

The Fed's Beige Book report into the state of the world's top economy showed consumer spending and manufacturing has risen in most of the 12 regions in the US while job creation was steady or improving.

"The US Fed's Beige Book was reassuring for investors who continue to harbour doubts about the pace and quality of the economic recovery," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

Wednesday's study came out a day after data showed US manufacturing activity picked up pace last month.

However, economists fear for emerging markets, as the results will provide the Fed with more evidence the US economy can stand on its own and does not need the vast stimulus that has been in place since September last year.

Expectations of an end to the Fed's bond-buying has seen foreigners pull their cash out of emerging markets as they repatriate to the West where investments look safer and more rewarding.

Global markets rallied at the start of the week after a batch of results around the world, including manufacturing data from China and Europe, which showed activity sharply higher.

And on Wednesday, figures confirmed the euro zone had emerged from an 18-month recession in the second quarter, providing fresh evidence it is slowly putting its long-running debt crisis behind it.

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