Asian markets boosted by US hopes, except Japan


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 - Page 15

Asian shares outside Japan rebounded this week as US economic reports showed signs of recovery in the world’s biggest economy, even as concern mounted that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is worsening.

Wharf Holdings Ltd (九龍倉集團) surged 9.8 percent in Hong Kong after underlying profit beat estimates. Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s biggest carmaker, slid 0.4 percent in Tokyo as the yen gained against the US dollar and euro. GS Yuasa Corp tumbled 9.2 percent after its batteries caught fire in a Mitsubishi Motors Corp factory and another melted in an electric car.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.9 percent to 135.56 this week, capping a 4.8 percent gain for the quarter. The measure’s third consecutive quarterly advance is its longest such winning streak since March 2010. The gauge rallied this year as improving economic data from the US and speculation that Japan will deploy more stimulus countered concern China will move to cool its property market.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index trades at 15 times average estimated earnings, compared with 14.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.6 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Taiwan’s TAIEX posted a weekly gain of 1.6 percent after advancing 0.7 percent to 7,918.61 on Friday.

South Korea’s KOSPI advanced 2.9 percent, while the TOPIX, Japan’s broadest share gauge, slid 0.4 percent this week, and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.5 percent to cap its best back-to-back quarterly performance since 1972. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped 3.9 percent, as Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8 percent, paring its first quarterly loss since June. The gauge dropped 1.6 percent this year.

Markets in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and India were closed on Friday for a holiday. Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia will reopen on Tuesday.

Stocks rose after residential real-estate prices increased in January by the most since June 2006, the S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed on March 26. Orders for durable goods climbed more than forecast last month, propelled by automobiles and a rebound in commercial aircraft, a US Department of Commerce report showed. The S&P 500 rose to a record, wiping out losses from the financial crisis.

Shares in Hong Kong gained this week during the busiest week for earnings, with about 240 companies reporting. About half of the firms on the Hang Seng Composite Index that reported earnings since Jan. 1 and for which Bloomberg has estimates, exceeded analysts’ forecasts, Bloomberg data show.

In other markets on Thursday:

Wellington rose 0.24 percent, or 10.70 points, to 4,422.75, from Wednesay.

Manila was closed.

Mumbai rose 0.70 percent, or 131.24 points, to 18,835.77 points.