Sun, Jan 08, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian stocks rise for third week

POSITIVE:Rising factory activity in the US, China, Australia and India pushed up markets in Asia, indicating a degree of comfort they have with the US economy

Bloomberg and AFP, with Staff Writer

Asian stocks rose for a third week, its longest streak of weekly advances since July last year, as manufacturing growth from China to the US stoked optimism the global economy would withstand Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.

“Markets are a lot more comfortable with the US economy at this point,” said Belinda Allen, a Sydney-based senior investment analyst at Colonial First State Global Asset Management. “Europe is going to be a headwind with all the bond auctions coming up.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5 percent to 114.39 this week on rising factory activity in Australia, China, India and the US and as China’s oil companies surged on market reforms and the prospect of lower taxes. The gauge pared gains at the end of the week as France faced higher borrowing costs at a bond auction and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said the country must cut spending to avoid economic collapse.

Taiwan’s TAIEX ended up 0.7 percent this week to close at 7,120.51 on Friday.

The Shanghai Composite Index slid 1.6 percent this week, extending losses for a ninth week, the longest such streak since June 2004, on concern government tightening measures are making it hard for small businesses to borrow money. The gauge rose on Friday afternoon amid renewed speculation the central bank would lower banks’ reserve-requirement ratios.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.9 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.3 percent as the better outlook for manufacturing boosted commodity producers.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average decreased 0.8 percent this week as the euro fell to an 11-year low against the yen, clouding the earnings outlook for exporters. South Korea’s KOSPI rose 1 percent.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific gauge declined 17 percent last year as energy, financial and raw material companies declined amid Europe’s worsening debt crisis, US lawmakers’ bickering over how to reduce that country’s deficit and China’s efforts to curb inflation.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila closed 0.79 percent, or 35.55 points, lower from Thursday at 4,483.36.

Wellington ended 0.93 percent, or 30.69 points, lower from Thursday at 3,253.43.

Mumbai added 10.65 points, or 0.07 percent, to 15,867.73 from Thursday in lackluster trade.

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