Sun, Jul 07, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian markets cap second weekly rise, led by Japan

DEFLATION ELATION:Optimism that ‘Abenomics’ will reflate Japan’s economy pushed up stocks across the region, with the TOPIX and Nikkei each adding close to 5 percent

Bloomberg and AFP

Asian stocks rose for a second week, with Japanese shares leading gains on optimism that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will succeed in beating deflation and as a weaker yen improved the outlook for exporters.

Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest carmaker, advanced 5.3 percent, while Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, Australia’s third-largest iron-ore producer, jumped 11 percent and Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest smartphone maker, sank 5.6 percent after posting second-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.6 percent to 131.34 this week, while a gauge that excludes Japan declined 1.1 percent. Both measures slumped for a second month last month as a government clampdown on speculative lending in China spurred a cash crunch and after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said stimulus may be scaled back if the US economy shows sustained improvement.

“Markets have some potential to pick up from here,” White Funds Management managing director Angus Gluskie said in Sydney. “There’s still a degree of nervousness out there as we’re at the juncture when the Federal Reserve is signaling it may reduce stimulus measures.”

In Taipei, the TAIEX on Friday rose 1.37 percent, or 108.1 points, to 8,001.82, a weekly drop from the 8,062.21 it posted on June 28.

On Friday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) rose 1.87 percent to NT$109, while smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) gained 1 percent at NT$203.

Japanese shares led advances this week, with the TOPIX rising 4.8 percent, capping its biggest three-week advance since April 2009. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 4.6 percent, as the yen fell beyond ¥100 per US dollar.

The quarterly tankan survey for large manufacturers rose to plus-four last month, the Bank of Japan reported on Monday. That exceeded the plus three forecast by 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and was the first positive reading since September 2011. A positive figure indicates that optimists outnumber pessimists.

Japanese consumers expect prices to climb 3 percent over the next 12 months, according to the median result in a central bank survey released yesterday in Tokyo, in a sign that the reflationary drive by Abe and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may be working.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent this week as the Reserve Bank of Australia the benchmark interest rate at a record low.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 1.1 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose by 0.6 percent.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index increased 1.4 percent, its first gain in five weeks, as money market rates declined. Reports this week added to signs China’s economy is weakening, with an official gauge of manufacturing expanding last month at its slowest pace in four months and a services measure by the least since September last year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) last month said officials should not be judged solely on boosting GDP, the latest signal that Chinese policymakers are prepared to tolerate slower economic expansion.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent this week, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index — Asia’s worst-performing major index this year — dropped 1.1 percent for a seventh decline in eight weeks and South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1.6 percent.

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