Sun, May 18, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian markets cap weekly gain on China easing bets

RATE EXPECTATIONS:After China’s central bank spurred stimulus hopes by telling lenders to grant more mortgages, markets were again buoyed by the Indian election results


Asian stocks gained this week, with the regional benchmark posting its biggest advance in six weeks, driven by optimism that China will add to stimulus measures as investors weighed earnings.

China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (中國海外發展有限公司), the biggest Chinese developer listed in Hong Kong, jumped 6.7 percent, while Power Finance Corp, which funds utilities, rose 28 percent in Mumbai as investors speculated that Gujarat State Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP) which was voted into power on Friday, will revive economic growth. Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), Asia’s largest Internet company, surged 11 percent in Hong Kong after its profit soared.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.3 percent to 139.72 this week, its steepest rally since the period ended on April 4. A measure of global equities touched a six-anda- half year high on Tuesday as US stock gauges rose to records.

China’s central bank told lenders to accelerate the granting of mortgages, spurring optimism that policymakers will do more to counter a slowdown in Asia’s No. 1 economy. In Taipei, the TAIEX rose 0.1 percent this week to close at 8,888.45 compared with 8,889.69 on May 9.

In the week’s final session, trading was flat, edging up 7.80 points, as smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) rose 0.31 percent to close on NT$163 and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) end up 0.23 percent higher at NT$88.8.

Foreigh institutional investors stayed on the buy side, serving as net buyers of NT$2.17 billion (US$71.84 million) worth of local shares, boosting demand for the New Taiwan dollar, dealers said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged 3.9 percent this week, its biggest gain since September last year, as the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index added 2.8 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent.

The People’s Bank of China on Tuesday told the nation’s 15 biggest lenders to accelerate the granting of mortgages, giving priority to first-time buyers while monitoring credit risks, according to a statement on its Web site.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克 強) is seeking to put a floor under the economic slowdown, with developers holding off on new construction as sales stall and the empty unit surplus swells. Home sales fell 18 percent last month from the previous month, data from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics show.

The S&P BSE SENSEX soared 4.9 percent in Mumbai this week to a record 24121.74 as Modi’s BJP swept to power with the biggest Indian election win in 30 years as voters tired of sluggish economic growth and corruption handed a historic defeat to the Gandhi dynasty that has dominated politics since the country’s founding. The value of Indian equities has climbed by more than US$330 billion since the BJP named Modi as its candidate on Sept. 13 last year. Japan’s TOPIX slid 0.6 percent this week as the yen gained 0.35 percent to ¥101.51 per US dollar. The equity measure slumped 11 percent this year, the most among developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.

More than 650 TOPIX members reported results this week. Sony, which forecast an annual loss for the sixth time in seven years, dropped 6.7 percent this week to ¥1,646. The loss will likely be ¥50 billion (US$493 million) in the 12 months ending on March 31, the electronics maker said. That compared with the ¥57.1 billion profit projected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

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