Asian stocks rose, snapping a four-week loss as commodity producers climbed along with metals and oil, and on speculation the US government will prevent the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
BHP Billiton Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp climbed after oil jumped more than US$5 a barrel on Friday and zinc advanced the most since February.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc led banks higher after the New York Times said the government may take over the two largest buyers of US home loans and guarantee their debt, reducing the risk of further credit-market losses.
“People are comforted to see that some action is being taken,” said Angus Gluskie, who helps oversee the equivalent of US$500 million at White Funds Management in Sydney. “It eliminates one of the risks that they’re concerned about: the risk that we’ll get a breakdown of a big player in the marketplace.”
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index rose 0.4 percent to 132.89 at 7:51pm Tokyo time, reversing a drop of 0.7 percent. A measure of raw-materials producers had the biggest gain among the 10 industry groups.
The MSCI Asian gauge had slumped 12 percent in the prior four weeks as oil climbed to a record, eroding earnings for manufacturers and deterring consumer spending, and as concerns over credit losses rekindled. The world’s largest banks and securities firms have posted writedowns and credit losses of more than US$400 billion as the US housing market collapsed, sparking turmoil in financial markets.
Taiwanese share prices are expected to stay rangebound next week ahead of US corporate quarterly results, dealers said on Friday.
While the market staged a technical rebound on Friday, helping the index hold well above the key 7,000-point level, market sentiment remains cautious amid fears of further volatility on Wall Street and rising inflation, they said.
It is possible for the bourse to test 7,000 points again or even fall to 6,900 points next week amid uncertainty, while a technical rebound is likely during the trade with resistance seen at around 7,500 points, dealers said.
For the week to Friday, the weighted index closed up 16.35 points or 0.23 percent at 7,244.76 after a 4.24 percent fall a week earlier. The TAIEX gained 2.39 percent from Thursday.
Despite a 2.39 percent increase in one single session on Friday, it remains to be seen whether the recent slump has been reversed, President Securities Co (統一證券) analyst Steven Huang said.
“Old problems have not been resolved yet,” Huang said, referring to high energy prices and possible turbulence on US markets. “US corporate results are adding new uncertainty to the market.”
Japanese share prices on Friday closed down 0.21 percent from Thursday, slipping for the first day in three on renewed concerns about the fallout from the US credit crunch, dealers said.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index dropped 27.52 points to 13,039.69. The broader TOPIX index of all first-section shares slipped 4.85 points or 0.38 percent to 1,285.91.
Hong Kong share prices closed up 1.7 percent on Friday, dealers said. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 362.77 points at 22,184.55.
Australian shares closed 0.9 percent higher, dealers said. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 42.5 points at 4,979.9 while the broader All Ordinaries ended 47.3 points higher at 5,067.8.
Chinese share prices closed down 0.65 percent, dealers said. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A and B shares, closed down 18.82 points at 2,856.63.
South Korean share prices closed 2.0 percent higher, dealers said. The KOSPI index closed up 30.08 points at 1,567.51.
Singapore share prices closed 0.87 percent higher, dealers said. The blue-chip Straits Times Index finished 25.26 points higher at 2,926.84.
Philippine share prices closed 0.5 percent lower, dealers said. The composite index shed 12.63 points to 2,437.99.
Indian shares closed 3.28 percent lower, dealers said. The benchmark Mumbai 30-share SENSEX index fell 456.39 points to 13,469.85.
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