Sun, Jul 06, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks extend weekly rally

FOLLOW THE LEADER:Good US jobs data drove Asian markets to post their strongest advance in three months, with the TAIEX hitting its highest peak since November 2007

Bloomberg and staff writer, with CNA

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index posting its biggest weekly rally in three months after the US’ unemployment rate slid to its lowest level since before the peak of the financial crisis.

In Taipei, the TAIEX posted its biggest weekly advance since March, spurring the longest declining streak in benchmark five-year notes in 18 months, after HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit Economics’ purchasing managers’ index showed that domestic manufacturing expanded by the most in four months last month.

The TAIEX climbed 2.2 percent for the week and rose to 9,550.11 on Thursday, the highest level since November 2007.

On Friday, the benchmark index fell 0.17 percent, or 16.18 points, to 9,510.05, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) added 0.37 percent to NT$135.0 and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) fell 0.96 percent to NT$103.

“The stock market’s outlook is still quite good,” said Tobby Lin, a Taipei-based fixed-income trader at Yuanta Securities Co (元大證券).

Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s TOPIX rose 0.5 percent on Friday, while South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.1 percent, New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent and the S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6 percent.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index was little changed, as was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which added less than 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese stocks traded in the territory advanced 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent and India’s S&P BSE SENSEX gained 0.5 percent.

Companies that do business in the US rose, with HTC Corp (宏達電) jumping 1.1 percent to NT$138.50 in Taipei after returning to profit as the release of its marquee One M8 smartphone and a cut in marketing costs helped stem the effects of a continued decline in sales.

In Tokyo, automaker Mazda Motor Corp gained 1.2 percent to ¥493 this week and convenience store operator Seven & I Holdings Co added 2 percent to ¥4,447 after first-quarter operating profit rose 5.1 percent annually to ¥77.5 billion (US$760 million).

Other firms with business in the US that gained this week included Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (中芯國際集成電路), which added 7.3 percent in Hong Kong after securing orders from Qualcomm Inc to make chips for the world’s largest supplier of smartphone processors, while Techtronic Industries Co, a maker of power tools, added 1.9 percent to HK$24.80 and Sands China Ltd advanced 2.4 percent to HK$61.15 after HSBC raised its target price on the casino operator to HK$70.70.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent to 147.59 to record a 1.7 percent weekly gain on Friday, the largest such advance since the period ended on April 4. The measure is in its eighth straight weekly rally, the longest streak since 2012.

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 13.4 times estimated earnings at the last close, compared with 16.7 for the S&P 500 and 15.7 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The [US] jobs report was a positive surprise and it confirmed the ongoing recovery in the US labor market,” Nomura Holdings Inc equity market strategist Masaaki Yamaguchi said. “That’s adding a tailwind to the market.”

In other markets on Friday:

Wellington gained 0.42 percent, or 21.51 points, from Thursday to close on 5,188.91.

Manila ended on 6,962.28 after rising 0.91 percent, or 62.97 points.

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