Sun, Oct 13, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian markets post weekly gains on US optimism

Agencies, with staff writer

Asian stocks rose this week, sending the regional benchmark index to its biggest advance in three weeks amid optimism that US lawmakers would make a deal to raise the US’ borrowing cap and avert a default.

Taiwan’s Hiwin Technologies Corp (上銀科技) surged 9.1 percent this week after the precision machine component manufacturer reported higher sales, while carmaker Honda Motor Co gained 5.5 percent this week in Tokyo and casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd (美高梅中國控股) rose 5.4 percent in Hong Kong after table revenue rose during China’s National Day holidays.

Online mall operator Rakuten Inc had the biggest drop on the Asian equity benchmark this week, tumbling 19 percent to 1,138 in Tokyo after Yahoo Japan Corp said it would scrap vendor fees for its shopping and auction sites.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.3 percent to 140.91 this week, after dropping last week as the US government entered a partial shutdown and concern mounted that the political impasse could lead to default. The benchmark rebounded after US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans and Democrats will seek a “path forward” on the US$16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

Stocks also climbed after US Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen — an architect of the Fed’s stimulus program — was nominated to lead the central bank.

Asia’s benchmark index was valued at 13.55 times estimated earnings on Friday, compared with multiples of about 15.35 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 14.26 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

In Taipei, the TAIEX slid 0.2 percent this week to end at 8,349.37 on Friday, compared with 8,364.55 on Friday last week. Hiwin jumped 9.1 percent to NT$223, leading gains on the MSCI Asia Pacific Industrials Index, which had the biggest advance among the gauge’s 10 subgroups. Shares climbed after sales last month rose 19 percent annually.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was 1.43 percent higher at NT$106.5 on Friday, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (鴻海精密) fell 0.13 percent to NT$75.4.

Japan’s TOPIX climbed 2.9 percent this week amid optimism that the US dollar will strengthen after Fed minutes from last month’s meeting indicated that stimulus tapering was likely this year. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 2.7 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 percent this week, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, the gauge of mainland stocks also known as the H-share Index, added 0.6 percent.

Developers led gains this week in Hong Kong. China Resources Land Ltd (華潤置地) surged 6.1 percent to HK$23.35, while Country Garden Holdings Co (碧桂園) — which is controlled by China’s richest woman, Yang Huiyan (楊惠妍) — jumped 9.7 percent to HK$5.55 after exceeding its property sales target for this year by the end of last month.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.5 percent this week after reopening from a week-long holiday on Tuesday.

HSBC Holdings PLC’s and Markit Economics’ purchasing managers’ index showed that growth in China’s service industries slowed to 52.4 last month from 52.8 in August, with 50 the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent this week. Data showed that the country’s unemployment rate dropped last month, while business confidence surged last month to the highest level in 3.5 years.

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