TOKYO: Asia's benchmark stock index rose after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the Fed may buy more treasuries to boost growth, and material shares gained on higher commodity prices, overshadowing declines by Japanese exporters BHP Billiton Ltd, the world's biggest mining company, rose 0.2% in Sydney after oil and metal prices gained.
Mitsui & Co, which counts commodities as its largest source of profit, increased 2.2% in Tokyo. JFE Holdings Inc, Japan's second-largest steelmaker, jumped 2.8%. Canon Inc, the world's largest camera maker, led Japanese exporters lower, falling at least 1.5% as the yen's strength against the dollar damped their earnings outlook. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 133.51. The gauge rose as much as 0.1% earlier. About the same number of stocks rose as fell. The dollar tumbled on Dec. 3 after U.S. Labor Department figures showed payrolls increased by 39,000 last month, less than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Unemployment held near a 26-year high. "Risk assets are moving into commodities," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst at Tokyo-based Monex Inc. "The dollar's weakness against the yen on the backdrop of a slow U.S. jobs recovery will weigh on some of the Japanese exporters." (wiw)
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