Sun, May 25, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Asian indexes get needed boost

LOOKING UP The TWSE saw its biggest jump since the middle of last month, while Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong advanced on optimism about the American economy


Asian stocks rose, led by exporters such as Sony Corp and Samsung Electronics Co, after a US survey of economists boosted optimism that growth in the world's biggest economy will accelerate in coming months.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1.7 percent to 8184.76 at the 3pm close in Tokyo, while the Topix index added 1.2 percent to 826.18. The benchmarks had their largest gain since May 6. South Korea's Kospi index rallied 2.7 percent, the biggest jump in more than three weeks, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index climbed 1.9 percent.

"It's clear that exporters are a better place to invest your money" than other companies, said Atsushi Osa, who helps manage the equivalent of US$99 billion in assets at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co. "Should the US economy see stable growth going forward, exporters will see profits improve."

Taiwan's TWSE Index had its biggest rally in more than a month, while in Singapore, stocks gained on optimism a recovery in the US will boost the island's exports and lift earnings. News Corp, which makes three-quarters of its sales in the US, led the advance in Australia.

All other benchmarks in the region gained except for the Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index, which fell.

Computer-related stocks and automakers accounted for more than a third of the Topix's gains.

Sony added 4.3 percent to ?3,040. The maker of Vaio computers gets about 67 percent of its sales from overseas.

Kyocera Corp climbed 3.8 percent to ?6,050. The world's largest maker of ceramic packaging used to protect computer chips gets more than half of its sales from abroad.

Canon Inc rose 2.3 percent to ?4,810. The maker of EOS cameras gets 70 percent of its revenue from overseas. Nissan Motor Co, the nation's third-largest automaker and an affiliate of French carmaker Renault SA, advanced 1.7 percent to ?890.

For the week, the Nikkei added 0.8 percent and the Topix climbed 0.9 percent, marking their third weekly gain in four.

Nikkei futures for June delivery gained 1.7 percent to 8200 in Osaka and rose 1.7 percent to 8195 in Singapore.

South Korea's Kospi rallied 16.13 to 611.51, its biggest advance since April 29. The index added 0.1 percent for the week.

Kospi 200 futures rose 2.8 percent to 77.60, while the underlying index advanced 2.8 percent to 77.56.

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest memory-chip maker, which gets about a fifth of sales in the US, jumped 4 percent to 312,000 won. Hyundai Motor Co, whose exports account for more than a half of its total sales, rose 4.7 percent to 28,800 won.

"The positive view about the US economy boosted investors' sentiment, giving hope about the global economy," said Kim Gyeong Bae, a fund manager at Dongwon Investment Trust Management Co, which manages the equivalent of US$1.09 billion.

The Hang Seng climbed 172.24 to 9303.73. The last time the index had a bigger percentage rise was on May 9. The benchmark's futures contract for May delivery rose 1.8 percent to 9325.

Li & Fung Ltd, which buys Asian-made garments for the US, gained 2.2 percent to HK$9.20. Johnson Electric Holdings Ltd, the world's No. 2 maker of small electric motors, which gets a third of its sales from the US, added 1.7 percent to HK$8.80.

The TWSE rose 1.8 percent to 4349.52, its biggest jump since April 18. This week, the index advanced 1.5 percent, its third weekly gain. The Taiwan Futures Index added 2.3 percent to 4340.

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