Asian stocks rose for a third week, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average recouping losses from before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, as US reports added to optimism in the global recovery and Japan’s central bank officials said they would continue stimulus.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent to 135.56, extending gains for a third week as economic data from the US added to signs the global economy is recovering, while Japan’s economy returned to growth and speculation grew its central bank would step up efforts to stimulate the expansion.
The Nikkei 225 climbed 5.8 percent, the biggest weekly gain in 15 months, as the yen slid to a three-and-a-half year low and revised figures showed fourth-quarter GDP rose an annualized 0.2 percent.
Taiwanese shares moved higher to end above the 8,000 point mark on Friday after the financial sector continued its momentum, as investors were expecting Taiwan and China to come up with more measures to boost cross-strait financial exchanges, dealers said.
Financial heavyweights in particular attracted strong buying after they reported impressive earnings in the first two months, while large-cap electronics appeared lackluster amid lingering concerns over slow season effects in the first quarter, the dealers said.
The TAIEX closed up 54.63 points, or 0.68 percent from Thursday, at 8,015.14. It ended the week up 0.6 percent.
“Thanks to the gains posted by the financial sector, the broader market jumped over the stiff technical hurdles ahead of 8,000 points,” Hua Nan Securities (華南永昌證券) analyst Stan Chang said.
“With a meeting between Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission and the China Banking Regulatory Commission approaching later this month, many investors have high hopes about more positive leads for the sector,” Chang said.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific measure has climbed 4.8 percent this year as central banks around the world maintained loose monetary policies to support economic growth. That pushed valuations to 15 times average estimated earnings compared with 13.9 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.6 times for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China on Friday last week imposed its toughest curbs in a year, ordering the central bank to raise downpayment requirements and interest rates for second mortgages in cities with excessive price gains, enforcing a property sales tax and telling local governments with the biggest price pressures to tighten home- purchase limits.
China maintained its economic-growth target at 7.5 percent for this year and raised its budget deficit forecast as the government cuts taxes and boosts measures to support consumer demand.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.9 percent on the week and Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1 percent.
In other markets on Friday:
Manila climbed 1.62 percent, or 108.64 points, from Thursday to 6,833.77.
Wellington rose 0.47 percent, or 20.55 points, from Thursday to a record high 4,354.03.
Mumbai rose 1.39 percent, or 269.69 points, from Thursday to 19,683.23 points.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
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