Sun, Jun 24, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Most Asian stocks rise as Greece fears ease slightly

LOST GROUND:Regional markets were all depressed in the days running up to the Greek election last Sunday, but have gained after a pro-bailout party won the poll


Most Asian stocks rose last week after a victory by pro-bailout parties in Greece eased prospects the country would leave the euro, overshadowing concern that the global economy was slowing after reports signaled slower manufacturing in the US and China.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index ended the week little changed at 114.14, as more than two stocks rose for every one that fell. More than US$5 trillion has been erased from global equities since March amid slowing economic growth in the US and China, and a spreading European debt crisis that pushed Spain’s borrowing costs to a record.

The Greek election result brought a “short-term sigh of relief,” said Belinda Allen, senior investment analyst at Colonial First State Global Asset Management in Sydney, which oversees about US$145 billion.

Taiwan’s TAIEX closed down 57, or 0.78 percent, at 7,222.05 on Friday, the biggest drop since June 8. The gauge gained 0.9 percent for the week, the second week of increases.

The TAIEX suffered extended losses on Friday as investors remained cautious about the global economy after international crude oil prices fell below US$80 (NT$2,392) per barrel for the first time since early October on weakening demand, dealers said.

While large-cap petrochemical stocks encountered heavy selling amid concerns over their profitability on the falling oil prices, the financial sector came under pressure after Moody’s downgraded its credit ratings of 15 financial institutions around the world, they said.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 2.7 percent this week as the yen weakened against the US dollar, boosting the value of earnings for exporters when repatriated. The yen fell 2.2 percent, the biggest weekly decline since February for Japan’s currency. The TOPIX climbed 3.4 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.2 percent this week as a survey by HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit Economics showed China’s manufacturing may shrink for an eighth month.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific slumped more than 11 percent from its peak on Feb. 29 through Friday, dragging shares on the index to 1.23 times book value. That compares with 2.1 times for the S&P 500 and 1.35 times for the STOXX 600, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A number below one means companies can be bought for less than value of their assets.

In other markets of Friday:

Manila added 0.21 percent, or 10.64 points, from Thursday to 5,120.07.

Wellington fell 0.30 percent, or 10.19 points, to 3,399.20.

Mumbai was down 0.35 percent, or 60.06 points, at 16,972.51.

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