Sun, Dec 01, 2002 - Page 10 News List

Exporters in Asia may rally on optimism in US

BLOOMBERG , TOKYO

Japanese stocks may extend gains after completing their first winning month in six on signs the US, the world's biggest economy, may not be slowing as much as some investors had expected.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average's five biggest members -- Kyocera Corp, Tokyo Electron Ltd, Advantest Corp, Fanuc Ltd and TDK Corp -- which all depend on US demand, may rally.

US reports in the week just ended showed better-than-expected home sales, rising consumer spending and falling initial jobless claims. That suggests consumers may demand more Japanese made goods. Next week's reports on manufacturing and factory orders may also indicate that growth in the region's largest export market may be rebounding.

"Many investors had expected consumption in the US to be weak during the Christmas shopping season, but recent economic reports are starting to counter those opinions," said Hiroaki Muto, who helps oversee US$60 billion in assets at Nissay Asset Management Corp. "That helps boost expectations Japanese exporters" will advance.

Samsung Electronics Co in South Korea and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. may advance on optimism demand for the region's semiconductors used in computers, mobile phones and cameras, will pick up. Hong Kong exporter Li & Fung Ltd may also gain.

In Australia, banks may extend declines in the past month on concern about slowing profit growth in the industry.

In the week just ended, the Nikkei added 5.1 percent to 9,215.56, while the broader Topix index climbed 3.9 percent to 892.71. For the month, the Nikkei rose 6.7 percent, while the Topix advanced 3.5 percent, their first winning months since May.

Taiwan transport companies, such as China Airlines (華航), may decline on concern the government may delay the establishment of direct transport links with China. Wan Hai Lines Ltd, Taiwan's largest shipping company by market value, and Eva Airways Corp (長榮航空), Taiwan's second-largest airline, may also drop.

The government's Mainland Affairs Council on Friday said it won't be able to present a technical report on direct transport links with the mainland by the end of November, as it had previously agreed.

China Airlines is Taiwan's biggest airline.

"Implementation isn't going to be so fast," said David Chu, who helps manage US$57 million in stocks at Reliance Securities Investment Trust Co.

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