Asian stocks post weekly gain as Chinese shares rally

Bloomberg and staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - Page 15

Asian stocks rose this week after Chinese shares rallied amid signs that the world’s second-largest economy is stabilizing and as companies from Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) to Tata Steel Ltd posted profit that exceeded estimates.

China Shenhua Energy Co (神華能源), China’s No. 1 coal producer, advanced 6.4 percent in Hong Kong after domestic industrial electricity demand increased last month. Lenovo, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers, gained 4.4 percent, while Tata Steel, India’s biggest producer of the metal, jumped 7.6 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3 percent this week, as the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.8 percent and the Hang Seng Index led developed market gains after reports on industrial production and exports this month added to signs that China’s economy is improving.

The TAIEX rose 0.9 percent this week, ending at 7,925 from 7,856.14 on Aug. 9. On Friday, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) gained 0.76 percent to NT$79.10, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was 0.52 percent higher at NT$96.50.

China Everbright Securities Co (中國光大證券) on Friday said it was investigating a trading error after the Shanghai Composite Index posted its biggest intraday surge since March 2009, briefly swinging from a loss to a gain of as much as 5.6 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index was valued at 9.1 times estimated earnings as of Friday, compared with multiples of 13.04 for the MSCI Asia Pacific Index and 15.02 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 4 percent. The trading week in the territory was shortened as the market was shut on Wednesday due to a typhoon. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index jumped 6.5 percent.

Japan’s TOPIX gained 0.2 percent, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.3 percent. The Japanese economy expanded an annualized 2.6 percent in the second quarter, slowing from a revised 3.8 percent in the previous three months.

“Next year, there is a chance that Japan goes into a recession and the financial markets usually see that half-a-year in advance. I would expect the stock market to be peaking now,” Japan Macro Advisors chief economist Takuji Okubo said on Bloomberg television.

The TOPIX has gained 33 percent this year — the world’s best-performing developed equity market.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 2.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 1.2 percent.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.4 percent and trading was temporarily halted on Friday after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck.

About 50 percent of the companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index that reported quarterly earnings since July 1 and for which estimates are available have exceeded expectations, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Energy firms posted the biggest advance among the index’s 10 industry groups this week.

In other markets on Friday:

Manila closed 0.83 percent, or 54.76 points, lower from Thursday to finish at 6,525.95.

Wellington fell 0.36 percent, or 16.39 points, to 4,513.88.

Mumbai dropped 3.97 percent, or 769.41 points, to 18,598.18.