Sun, Dec 16, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian markets in fourth weekly rise as yen falls

ABE EXPECTATIONS:The hope among investors is that a party will come to power in today’s elections in Japan that will push a more aggressive QE policy


Asian stocks rose for a 12th day, on Friday, leading the regional benchmark gauge to a fourth weekly gain, as Japan’s exporters advanced on a weaker yen before Japanese elections today which are expected to hand power to an opposition party pushing for more central bank easing.

Toyota Motor Corp gained 1.8 percent, as Guoco Group Ltd jumped 31 percent in Hong Kong after the developer received a HK$8.25 billion (US$1 billion) buyout offer. CLP Holdings Ltd (中電控股), Hong Kong’s biggest electricity supplier, fell 2.8 percent after selling shares at a discount.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1 percent to 127.44 this week, with the gauge capping its longest streak of daily gains since January 2004. Japanese shares lifted the benchmark on bets former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party will win the election this weekend.

“Investors have a high expectation that if Abe wins the elections, they’ll do more aggressive monetary easing and people expect the yen to weaken,” said Grace Tam, a Hong Kong-based global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management Ltd, which oversees about US$1.3 trillion.

Asia’s benchmark equities index rose almost 17 percent from this year’s low on June 4 as central banks from the US, Europe, Japan and China took action to spur economic growth. The gauge traded at 14.4 times average estimated earnings, compared with 13.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.7 times for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 2.2 percent this week, as South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 1.9 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 2 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 fell 1.5 percent in Wellington.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.9 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, added 4.3 percent. Shares on the gauge have rebounded 9.7 percent from a near four-year low reached on Dec. 3. China’s industrial production climbed 10.1 percent in last month while retail sales accelerated by 14.9 percent, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said.

In Taipei, the TAIEX increased 0.7 percent, or 58.32 points this week to 7,698.77, compared with 7,649.05 on Dec. 7. High-tech firms, in particular the so-called “Apple Inc concept stocks,” led the downside on the local bourse as investors scrambled to lock in profits they had built up in recent sessions, while some old economy stocks appeared resilient, which prevented the index from falling further, dealers said.

The TAIEX opened down 0.44 percent on Friday as investors took cues from the latest Wall Street retreat following a standstill in negotiations between the White House and the US Congress on how to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” dealers said.

Selling escalated to push the index down further at the end of Friday’s session as large-cap electronics encountered heavy downward pressure, they added.

“The fiscal cliff worries weighed on market sentiment at home and abroad, prompting investors to ignore the latest liquidity-easing measures announced by the US central bank,” Hua Nan Securities (華南永昌證券) analyst Henry Miao (苗台生) said. “Now, as investors have sensed that the Fed’s latest fund injection plan has lost its luster, the first thing for them was to pocket the gains they had posted recently, in particular in the electronics sector. The market has been faced with stiff technical resistance ahead of 7,800 points.”

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