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Asia: Local Matters Trump Fed

The won was trading stronger by the end of Asian trading, to 901.55 won vs. the dollar from 903.55, hurting exporters like Posco (PKX), which was surging last week. Posco shares dipped 2.8%, to 627,000 won.

Inflation in Korea was up 3% on the year in October vs. an expected 2.7%, and the fastest rate since August 2005. Trade surplus was also down on the month, to $2.2 billion vs. $2.35 billion in September.

Still, exports rose 24.2% on the year in October, their highest gain since November 2004, while exports to China gained 33.1% on the year.

Elsewhere in Asia, patterns were similar. In Thailand, inflation rose to 2.5%, higher than the expected rate of 2.1% and the country's fastest increase since January.

In Japan, the Nikkei gained 132 points, or 0.79%, to 16,870 points, while the Topix rose 15.71 points, or 0.9%, to 1,635 points, led by energy stocks like Nippon Oil, which leapt 4.15%, to 1,053 yen.

Exporters Sony (SNE), Canon (CAJ), and Honda (HMC) rose as much as 3.36% on a weaker yen.

The carry trade is slowly regaining favor, as the yen has lost 1.5% this week vs. the dollar. At the end of Asia trading, the dollar was buying 115.79 yen vs. a low of 114.2 on Monday.

A weakening yen is usually seen as a bullish measure for Asian equities in general, since it signals investors are using cheap Japanese debt to buy up shares elsewhere in the region.

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