Asian stocks rose this week, paring their monthly decline, as US data boosted confidence in the world’s largest economy and a weaker yen helped the Nikkei 225 Stock Average touch a near six-year high.
Samsung Electronics Co, a South Korean electronics maker that gets 22 percent of its revenue in the Americas, advanced 3 percent in Seoul. Television manufacturer Panasonic Corp gained 7.3 percent in Tokyo after the yen slid to a six-month low against the US dollar. Rakuten Inc jumped 7.2 percent in Tokyo after the e-commerce company said it would boost its dividend. Forge Group Ltd plunged 82 percent in Sydney after the provider of mining services forecast a loss.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.6 percent to 142.06 this week, trimming its decline last month to 0.2 percent. Shares fell the previous week after minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s most-recent meeting signaled it may reduce record stimulus “in coming months” if the economy shows sustained improvement.
“We’ve had the very difficult period over the summer, which was dominated by the fear of tapering by the Federal Reserve and that has impacted both Asian as well as emerging markets broadly,” said Peter Elston, Singapore-based head of Asia-Pacific strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management. “Now that we managed to get through that period, there’s a scope for Asian markets to rise.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 9.8 percent this year, as central banks boosted stimulus to support growth globally and China’s economy showed signs of stabilization. The gauge traded at 14 times average estimated earnings, compared with multiples of 16.3 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 15.2 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Nikkei 225 gained 1.8 percent this week, closing at its highest since December 2007 on Nov. 28 before paring gains yesterday. The broader TOPIX added 0.8 percent after the yen touched its lowest against the greenback since May, boosting Japanese exporters. The nation’s shares were the best performers among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, with the TOPIX on course for its biggest annual advance since 1999.
Taiwan’s TAIEX closed 3.6 percent higher this week at 8,406.83, with the index advancing over the past six sessions. Shares closed higher on Friday, as buying rotated to Apple Inc’s local supply chain, driven by strong demand for its new iPhone 5S, dealers said.
Old economy stocks — especially China-concept stocks — maintained their momentum on hopes that Beijing would announce more stimulus measures, dealers said.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), with more than 40 percent of its revenue coming from Apple’s orders, rose 2.77 percent from Thursday to close at NT$78, while smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光) gained 1.93 percent to NT$1,055.00 and metal casing maker Catcher Technology Co (可成科技) added 1.98 percent to finish at NT$180.
“I think these Apple concept stocks will continue to rise on expectations that the US electronics giant will see strong sales in the Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping season,” Grand Fortune Securities (福邦證券) analyst Chen Wei-tai said.
“For its part, Hon Hai could challenge the NT$80 mark or even higher, as its current valuation is low,” Chen said.
Among the China-concept stocks, Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥) rose 1.85 percent to close at NT$46.85 on the back of its increasing pricing power in the China market, while Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) added 0.76 percent to NT$399 amid optimism over its auto parts shipments to China.