Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Regional stocks rise on US data, China’s EU support

Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose for the third week this month as a report showed US retail sales increased last week and China reported “concrete action” to help stabilize Europe’s economy.

Canon Inc, which is the world’s largest maker of cameras and gets more than a quarter of its sales from the US and almost a third from Europe, increased 3 percent in Tokyo this week. BHP Billiton Ltd the world’s biggest mining company and Australia’s largest oil producer, climbed 2.2 percent in Sydney as metals prices rose. Posco, the world’s No. 2 producer of stainless steel, gained 1.3 percent in Seoul after MoneyToday said the company is considering an acquisition.

“All in all, stability — both economic and political — will always be well received by investors,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage about US$1.8 billion in Sydney at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. “Markets are in a seasonally strong period, but volumes are thin, which is also typical for this time of the year.”

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index climbed 1.2 percent to 135.19 this week. The gauge closed higher on three out of five days, and rose the most on Tuesday.

Taiwan’s TAIEX fell 37.77, or 0.4 percent, on Friday to 8,861.10 at the 1:30pm close, ending a three-day winning streak. The gauge gained 0.5 percent this week, a fifth straight advance.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.2 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.5 percent, and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2 percent.

Markets in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore shut early on Friday for Christmas Eve.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index has risen 12 percent this year on speculation that growth in corporate profits will weather Europe’s debt crisis, Chinese steps to curb property-price inflation and concern about the pace of the US economic rebound.

Stocks in the gauge are valued at about 15 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 23 times at the start of the year. The index plunged 43 percent in 2008 and rebounded 34 percent last year, its biggest gain since 2003.

“US economic indicators continue to exceed expectations and the US economy is on a recovery trend,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. “The global economic recovery, surplus money and confidence in government measures are boosting commodity prices.”

Wellington fell 0.14 percent, or 4.55 points, on Friday to 3,329.21, while Mumbai rose 0.45 percent, or 90.78 points, to 20,073.66 on Friday.

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