Sun, Nov 17, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks rise on US, China policy

OPTIMISM:Investors were encouraged by Fed chief nominee Janet Yellen’s assurance on the US’ bond-buying program and Beijing’s unveiling of a new package of reforms


Asian stocks rose this week, with the benchmark index gaining for the first time in a month, on optimism policymakers in the US and China would bolster growth in the world’s two biggest economies. Japanese shares jumped as the yen weakened.

Shandong Weigao Group Medical Polymer Co., a Chinese medical products maker, soared 34 percent in Hong Kong this week after reporting higher sales, leading gains on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

Nissan Motor Co, which gets about 80 percent of revenue outside Japan, rose 4.6 percent as the yen declined to a two-month low.

James Hardie Industries, a building-materials supplier that makes more than half of its sales in the US, jumped 13 percent in Sydney after reporting better-than-expected operating profit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.9 percent to 141.57 this week, the biggest weekly advance since the five days ended Sept. 20. China may release details of its economic policy plans as early as next week, according to Morgan Stanley.

US Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, the nominee for Fed chairman, signaled during her senate confirmation hearing on Thursday that she would not consider ending the Fed’s bond-buying scheme as long as growth remained tepid and unemployment elevated.

“The statement made by Yellen is definitely favorable for equity markets,” said Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management. “Fourth quarter is a very favorable period for equity markets around the world. It looks like global investors are back in Japan again.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average surged 7.7 percent this week, climbing above 15,000 for the first time since May and posting the steepest weekly rally in almost four years. China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 1.4 percent.

Asia’s regional equities gauge slumped on Wednesday amid disappointment in the lack of details released at the conclusion of China’s four-day leadership meeting.

Shares then reversed course, with gains accelerating on Friday as the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper reported that a 20,000-word document approved at the plenum lays out 15 areas of reform and 60 “concrete tasks.”

Policy changes may be announced over the next seven to 10 days, Jonathan Garner, the Hong Kong-based chief Asia and emerging-market strategist at Morgan Stanley, said on Thursday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said corruption remains a problem and urged more courage and stronger measures to push forward reforms, according to a transcript of his speech at the plenum published on Friday by Xinhua News Agency.

Taiwanese shares bucked the regional trend, sliding 0.6 percent this week to 8,177.12.

Yellen’s testimony lifted the TAIEX on Friday, led by bargain-hunting in old economy stocks, particularly in cement, petrochemicals and textiles, but electronics stocks consolidated, capping the gains on the broader market, dealers said.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.3 percent this week, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, a gauge of mainland stocks also known as the H-share index, jumped 3 percent.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila rose 0.29 percent, or 18.52 points, from Thursday to 6,346.40.

Wellington fell 0.27 percent, or 13.1 points, from Thursday to 4,914.08.

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