Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Falling US unemployment raises Asian markets to trim regional gauge’s decline

Bloomberg and AFP

Most Asian stocks rose on Friday, paring a weekly fall on the regional index after a drop in US jobless claims boosted optimism about the world’s largest economy ahead of a government report on employment.

The number of Americans filing jobless claims for the first time dropped to a three-week low of 278,000 in the week to Nov. 1, below the 285,000 median forecast of 50 economists polled by Bloomberg.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest lender, advanced 1.9 percent, contributing most to Friday’s gains. Citic Securities Co (中信證券) climbed at least 2.7 percent in Shanghai and Hong Kong amid speculation that a share-trading link between the two places will be launched soon.

Takata Corp fell to the lowest in two years as the Japanese company at the center of a safety crisis widened its loss forecast and warned that it cannot estimate the full financial liability for faulty air bags.

About two shares climbed for each that retreated on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which was little changed at 140.05 as of 4:05pm in Hong Kong on Friday. The measure was headed for a 1.3 percent decline this week.

The European Central Bank on Thursday vowed to increase stimulus if needed, less than a week after the Bank of Japan bolstered already unprecedented easing.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policymakers will be ready to implement further measures if needed as he signaled officials may cut growth forecasts next month.

In Taipei, the TAIEX lost 0.7 percent this week even as exchange data showed that global funds bought US$728 million more of the nation’s equities than they sold in the last four days of the week.

The benchmark index inched up 0.24 percent to close on 8.912.62 on Friday, as smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) rose 0.37 percent to NT$137 and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) fell 0.76 percent to NT$131.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index slid 0.4 percent on Friday, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 percent Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (香港交易及結算所) added 2 percent amid optimism for cross-border equity trading.

Japan’s TOPIX gained 0.5 percent, as the yen slid 0.2 percent to ¥115.45 per US dollar after falling 0.5 percent on Thursday to hit a seven-year low.

The index has soared more than 10 percent since Oct. 29, helped by the Bank of Japan’s surprise announcement that it will widen its own monetary base. The Nikkei added 87.90 points to finish at 16,880.38 on Friday.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent, New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.3 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.2 percent, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was little changed and India’s S&P BSE SENSEX retreated from a record high after losing 0.2 percent.

In other markets on Friday:

Wellington rose 0.28 percent, or 15.38 points, from Thursday to close on 5,418.99.

Manila ended down 0.43 percent, or 30.91 points, at 7,205.72.

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