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Asian shares recover after Apple, oil boost Wall St

WORLD
By Reuters | May 17th 2016
A pedestrian holding her mobile phone walks past electronic boards showing the Japan's Nikkei average (top L) and the Japanese yen's exchange rate against the euro (top R) outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, February 9, 2016.

ASIA: Asian shares recovered from two-month lows on Tuesday after a rebound in technology giant Apple Corp and oil price gains boosted Wall Street.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.4 percent, extending the recovery from its two month low set on Friday. Japan's Nikkei .N225gained about 0.8 percent.

"The market's risk appetite seems to be coming back, or rather, its excessive pessimism is easing," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

Wall Street rallied sharply on Monday, fueled by a jump in Apple shares and gains from energy stocks that were backed by stronger oil prices, with the S&P 500 .SPX gaining 1.0 percent. [.N]

Shares in Apple (AAPL.O), which had lost about one-fifth of their value in the past month on worries about the company's slowing sales growth, finished 3.7 percent higher after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) reported taking a stake of about $1 billion in the iPhone maker.

Oil prices were at six-month highs as the market focused on supply disruptions that prompted long-time bear Goldman Sachs to issue a bullish assessment on near-term prices.

A combination of Nigerian, Venezuelan and other outages, declining U.S. production and virtually frozen inflows of Canadian crude after wildfires in Alberta's oil sands region helped to lift oil prices.

"The increasing intensity in supply-side disruptions in the oil market should see prices well supported in the short term," ANZ said in a research note.

The supply disruptions also triggered a U-turn in the outlook for the oil market from Goldman Sachs, which had long warned of global storage hitting capacity and of another oil price crash to as low as $20 per barrel.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 0.6 percent at $49.29 per barrel, after having risen 2.4 percent on Monday, when it rallied to $49.47 earlier, its highest since early November.

U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 went up 1.1 percent to $48.24, having risen 3.3 percent on Monday.

Yet concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy could weigh on Asian shares after data published on Saturday showed investment, factory output and retail sales all grew more slowly than expected in April.

In the past month, shares in Greater China are among the worst performers globally. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai shares have all registered falls of around 7 percent.

In the currency market, the British pound rose 0.6 percent to $1.4478 GBP=D4 helped in part by a report that the "remain" camp held a 15-point lead over its "leave" rivals in Britain's EU referendum campaign.

The dollar was little changed against other currencies. Against the yen, the U.S. currency stood at 109.09 yen JPY=, stuck in its well-worn range in the past week.

The euro traded at $1.1315 EUR=, off its two-week low of $1.1283 touched on Friday.

The Australian dollar rose 0.8 percent to $0.7345 AUD=D4 after minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's May policy meeting surprised some investors with a less-dovish-than-expected tone.

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