Sun, Oct 05, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks dip on week before US payrolls report

Bloomberg and staff writer, with CNA

Asian stocks rose for the first time in six days on Friday, climbing from a four-month low, as shares in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from a slump and investors awaited a report on US employment.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 138.76 as of 7:02pm in Hong Kong, paring its weekly drop to 2.3 percent. The measure has retreated 7.2 percent from a six-year high in July. US jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week, the US Labor Department said on Thursday.

“The labor market in the US has been healing for quite some time,” said Hans Goetti, Singapore-based head of investment for Asia at Banque Internationale a Luxembourg SA. “It will continue. We see the unemployment rate below 6 percent sometime in the early part of 2015. It’s on the path to recovery.”

Goetti favors global equities relative to bonds, he said.

Taiwan’s TAIEX added 1.5 percent in trading on Friday, and closed the week 1.3 percent higher at 9,106.28. Shares staged a solid technical rebound on Friday after a recent slump to close above the 9,100-point mark, as heavyweights across the board attracted bargain hunting, dealers said.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the most heavily weighted stock in the market, led the uptrend, rising 2.9 percent to NT$124.50.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and the assembler of iPhones and iPads, closed up 1.85 percent at NT$99.30 on Friday.

“Judging from the buying, many investors are betting that these high-tech firms will report higher consolidated sales for September due to peak-season effects as well as a boost from the new iPhones,” Hua Nan Securities (華南永昌證券) analyst Kevin Su (蘇俊宏) said.

Among the non-high-tech stocks, the financial sector made a comeback on expectations that interest rates at home and abroad would trend higher, which would strengthen the sector’s bottom line, dealers said..

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金) rose 3.11 percent to close at NT$48.05, and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) gained 2.88 percent to end at NT$50.

“After today’s strong showing, I expect that the index will encounter some technical hurdles as it rises to a range between 9,150 and 9,200 next week,” Su said.

Japan’s TOPIX gained 0.2 percent on Friday, as the yen weakened 0.5 percent to ¥108.98 per US dollar.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.2 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in the territory gained 0.4 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index dropped 1.1 percent.

Markets in South Korea, India and China were closed.

While protesters in Hong Kong strengthened barricades around the government’s main office building, heavy rain contributed to dwindling numbers of demonstrators at two secondary sites of the occupation on Friday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) agreed to talks aimed at diffusing a week-long standoff that has led businesses and schools in some districts to shut.

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