HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed yesterday as traders nervously awaited signs of progress in solving a budget stand-off in Washington that threatens to plunge the United States into default.
US President Barack Obama said he will meet Republican and Democrat leaders to try to break the deadlock, which has shut down parts of the government for 10 days and could continue past a deadline to raise the country's borrowing limit.
Tokyo ended up 1.12 per cent at 14,194.71 thanks to the weaker yen, but Sydney dropped 0.11 per cent to 5,147.1 and Seoul was flat, edging down 1.36 points to close at 2,001.40.
Shanghai lost 0.94 per cent to 2,190.93 while Taipei was closed for a public holiday.
There was some small hope that a deal might be found. Obama announced he would meet both parties at the White House after saying he was open to a short-term rise in the ceiling so that substantive talks on the budget could be held.
"The signs emanating from Washington are slightly more positive for equity sentiment," said Hiroichi Nishi of SMBC Nikko Securities.
"Talk of a short-term increase in the debt limit to allow time for broader budget negotiations is seen as a first step to ending the deadlock," Nishi said.
Hopes that the US Federal Reserve's stimulus will stay in place a little longer helped emerging Asian markets, which have benefited from an investment splurge fuelled by the low US interest rates.
In other markets: * Wellington
ended up 0.14 per cent at 4,717.38. Air New Zealand rose 0.34 per cent to NZ$1.475 and Fletcher Building gained 0.43 per cent to NZ$9.42 but New Zealand Telecom was off 0.65 per cent at NZ$2.285.* Manila
climbed 0.91 per cent to 6,435.97. Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 0.07 per cent to 2,928 pesos and Ayala Corp added 0.90 per cent to 616.00 pesos, while Universal Robina was up 2.03 per cent at 120.80 pesos.* Bangkok
added 1.20 per cent to 1,451.91. Airports of Thailand gained 2.30 per cent to 200.00 baht, while telecoms company True Corporation jumped 5.08 per cent to 9.30 baht.* Jakarta
climbed 0.66 per cent to 4,486.68. State miner Aneka Tambang rose 2.04 per cent to 1,500 rupiah and carmaker Astra International gained 3.82 per cent to 6,800 rupiah. AFP