Asian shares rose for a sixth week, the longest winning streak since March, as investors bet governments in Japan and China would do more to spur growth.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1.02 percent to 129.61 this week. Japanese shares surged after a report that consumer prices fell fanned speculation the central bank would respond to government calls for more asset purchases.
“Central banks are going to keep interest rates low and provide more stimulus that will keep equity markets propped up as it has done this year,” Kapstream Capital managing director and founder Kumar Palghat said.
Asia’s benchmark equities index rose about 19 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 14.9 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, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 4.6 percent this week, taking its advance for the year to 23 percent, the most since 2005. The gauge has risen 20 percent since Nov. 14, when the former government said it would hold a general election this month and as a more pro-stimulus Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, took power. Japan’s markets are shut four days next week for the New Year holidays.
Taiwan’s TAIEX closed higher on Friday, the last trading session of the year, as the financial sector, led by heavyweight Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), attracted rotational buying, dealers said.
The market also got a boost from smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電), which built on Thursday’s rally to breach the NT$300 mark amid optimism over sales of the company’s Butterfly model, they said.
The weighted index closed up 51.9 points, or 0.66 percent, on Friday at 7,699.50, after moving between 7,665.04 and 7,708.31. For the year, the TAIEX gained 627.42 points, or 8.87 percent, and will finish in the middle of the pack among markets in East Asia.
The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks stocks on the larger Chinese exchanges, added 3.7 percent this week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.7 percent, headed for a 23 percent advance this year, the most since 2009.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.7 percent in Wellington. South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.8 percent.
Friday was also the final trading day of the year in South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Thailand’s SET Index surged 36 percent this year, the biggest advance by any Asian benchmark gauge after Pakistan’s Karachi 100 Index.
The KOSPI finished the year slightly ahead of the TAIEX, up 9.4 percent as of Friday, while the Hang Seng Index and the Nikkei 225 will finish well ahead, having gained nearly 23 percent as of Friday. The Shanghai index will be the weakest in the region, having risen only 1.5 percent so far this year.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to