Sun, Mar 10, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks rise for third week

Staff writer, with Agencies

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.

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