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Sun, May 04, 2008 - Page 10 News List

ASIA: Banks, electronics lead rally in Asian markets

FADING RISK AVERSIONThe MSCI Asia-Pacific Index gained for the second week in a row amid speculation that markets have seen the worst of the credit crisis

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stocks rose this week, led by banks and consumer electronics makers, on speculation turmoil in global credit markets will ease.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan’s largest bank by assets, advanced. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co posted its biggest gain since 1986 in Osaka, Japan, after its profit forecast beat analysts’ estimates. Origin Energy Ltd surged to a record in Sydney after receiving a A$12.9 billion (US$12 billion) takeover bid. Newcrest Mining, Australia’s largest gold producer, slumped after the price of the metal fell.

“Definitely the worst of the credit crisis is behind us,” said Ivan Leung, Hong Kong-based chief investment strategist at JPMorgan Private Bank, which oversees US$400 billion in assets. “Risk aversion has begun to fade away and we’re back to a normal environment.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1.6 percent to 151.62, gaining for the second straight week. The benchmark climbed 7.8 percent last month, its biggest monthly advance since September 2005.

A measure of bank stocks on the regional benchmark rose 4.7 percent this week, the largest gain among 10 industry groups. An index of commodity producers slumped 1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.3 percent, capping a seven-week, 15 percent advance. China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index added 4.1 percent. Asian stock markets were closed on May 1 for a holiday, apart from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. China’s stock markets were also shut on Friday.

TAIPEI

Taiwanese share prices closed 0.49 percent higher on Friday, dealers said.

The weighted index closed up 43.71 points at 8,963.63 on turnover of NT$177.76 billion (US$5.83 billion).

Samson Chueh (闕山雄), an assistant vice president at Yuanta Core Pacific Capital Management Co (元大投顧), said the Wall Street rally convinced investors to stay positive about Taiwan.

For the week, the weighted index closed up 15.8 points, or 0.18 percent, after a 1.39 percent fall a week earlier.

TOKYO

Japanese share prices closed up 2.05 percent at the highest level in almost four months after overnight gains on Wall Street and a weakening of the yen, which boosted exporters, dealers said.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index rose 282.40 points to 14,049.26, the best finish since Jan. 11.

The broader TOPIX index of all first-section shares advanced 31.29 points or 2.32 percent to 1,377.39.

HONG KONG

Hong Kong share prices closed up 1.89 percent, dealers said.

The Hang Seng index closed up 485.67 points at 26,241.02.

“Local shares rose mainly on overseas leads,” said Eric Yuen of Dao Heng Securities.

SYDNEY

Australian shares closed up 2.1 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 added 114.6 points to close at 5,700.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 107.7 points to 5,760.4.

SEOUL

South Korean shares closed up 1.3 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark KOSPI index closed up 22.80 points at 1,848.27.

SINGAPORE

Singapore share prices closed 2.81 percent higher, dealers said.

The blue-chip Straits Times Index rose 88.31 points to 3,236.10.

MANILA

Philippine share prices closed 1.0 percent lower, dealers said.

The composite index lost 26.82 points at 2,722.95.

The all-share index fell 12.04 points to 1,703.53.

WELLINGTONV

New Zealand share prices closed 0.85 percent higher, dealers said.

The NZX-50 gross index rose 30.93 points to 3,661.34.

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