Sun, May 25, 2014 - Page 15 News List

China, US data stir Asian stocks up for second week

BIGGER PICTURE:An analyst said that the positive PMI reading for China was a ‘good signal,’ but that more positive macro data are needed to show stable growth

Bloomberg

Asian stocks posted their second straight rise this week, closing at their highest level since January as US and Chinese manufacturing data beat estimates and a weaker yen boosted Japanese equities.

China Gas Holdings Ltd (中國燃氣控股) jumped 9.1 percent in Hong Kong after Russia reached a US$400 billion deal to supply gas to China, while Honda Motor Co surged 4.3 percent in Tokyo and copper producer Sesa Sterlite Ltd climbed to its highest level in almost three years as Indian stocks soared after the electoral victory of Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi.

In Thailand, the SET Index lost 0.6 percent after Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, said he was seizing control of the country to restore peace. The nation’s 12th coup in eight decades follows a six-month political stalemate that has sapped growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9 percent this week to 140.92, bringing its two-week gain to 2.2 percent. The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 12.9 times estimated earnings on Friday, compared with 16.1 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

In Taipei, foreign institutional investors served as net buyers of NT$3.58 billion (US$119 million) worth of local shares to push the TAIEX past the 9,000-point mark at the close on Friday. The weighted index finished the week at 9,008.22, compared with 8,888.45 on May 16.

Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) rose 1.22 percent from Thursday to NT$165.5 in the week’s final session, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (鴻海精密) ended 1.09 percent higher at NT$93.

HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit Economics’ purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of manufacturing in China gave a provisional reading of 49.7 for this month, up from last month’s 48.1 and beating estimates as a similar index of US manufacturing also topped forecasts.

“Market sentiment stabilized, but we need more solid macro indicators that the global economy is still in a sustainable force,” First Shanghai Securities Ltd (第一上海證券) strategist Linus Yip (葉尚志) said from Hong Kong. “China’s PMI was a good signal, but we still have to see if the growth rate is stabilizing.”

Asian stocks this week were also spurred by minutes of last month’s US Federal Reserve meeting, which showed that the central bank’s policymakers see a muted risk of inflation from continued US stimulus.

Japan’s TOPIX jumped 1.8 percent this week, snapping two weeks of losses as the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 2.6 percent and the yen fell for the first week in three.

Toyota Motor Corp, which gets 31 percent of its revenue in North America, added 0.6 percent to finish on ¥5,557, while Honda ended at ¥3,502. The Bank of Japan refrained from adding to monetary stimulus, as expected by economists.

Elsewhere in Asia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.3 percent in Australia, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.7 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI jumped 0.2 percent to its highest close since December last year.

Also this week, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.5 percent as a report showed the city-state’s GDP expanded by an annualized 2.3 percent in the three months through March from the previous quarter, when the economy grew a revised 6.9 percent.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.1 percent to climb for a second week and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese stocks traded in the territory added 1.7 percent.

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