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Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Asia posts best week since May as confidence grows

REGIONAL ROUNDUP Taiwanese shares could gain further in the week ahead as interest moves to old-economy firms from their high tech counterparts, dealers said

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , TAIPEI

Asian stocks rose this week, giving the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index its biggest advance since May, amid renewed confidence the global economy is recovering.

CapitaLand Ltd, Singapore*s biggest developer, climbed 10 percent as Singapore upgraded its economic growth forecasts. Alumina Ltd, partner in the world*s biggest producer of the material used to make aluminum, jumped 15 percent in Sydney as commodity prices climbed.

Bank of Communications Co (拶蠯錞?) gained 8.3 percent in Hong Kong as economist Nouriel Roubini said the worst of the financial crisis was over.

※The recovery is gaining traction,§ said Nader Naeimi, a strategist at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, which manages about US$95 billion. ※Even if we don*t see spectacular growth, a stabilization should be enough to support a market rally.§

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index added 2.7 percent to 103.38 this week. The gauge has rallied 47 percent from a five-year low on March 9 amid optimism stimulus policies around the world will revive the global economy. The MSCI World Index gained 6.7 percent this week, the most since March.

Hong Kong*s Hang Seng Index climbed 6.2 percent, while Japan*s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent. Indonesia*s Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.6 percent yesterday, paring its weekly gain to 2.1 percent, after bomb blasts killed at least eight people in the city.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index has risen this week as government reports showed economic growth accelerated in China and US manufacturing improved. Intel Corp forecast sales that beat analyst estimates, while International Business Machines Corp raised its profit forecast.

Stocks on the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index are trading at an average 43 times reported earnings, up from the 15 times shares were trading at during the market*s trough in March. Companies on the S&P 500 are currently at 14 times profit.

Taiwanese share prices are expected to continue their upward trend next week with interest moving to old-economy firms from their high tech counterparts, dealers said.

Shares in companies that have close business ties with China may benefit from a technical rebound after recent heavy losses, while property stocks are likely to gain on hopes of rising property prices, they said.

However, as the market moves closer to the key 7,000 point mark, resistance may cap the gains during trade next week, while a strong technical support may be seen at around 6,600 points, dealers said.

For the week to July 17, the weighted index rose 81.13 points or 1.20 percent to 6,850.99 after a 1.57 percent increase a week earlier.

Average daily turnover stood at NT$128.01 billion (US$3.89 billion), compared with NT$119.37 billion a week ago.

The bellwether electronic sector served as a driver to the gains seen this week amid optimism over the outlook of the global high tech sector, helping the market recoup Monday*s heavy losses.

※I expect the momentum of the electronic sector will be 〝weakening next week on technical factors,§ President Securities (巘擩嬾盺) analyst Steven Huang said.

※As a market laggard, the old economy sector is expected to take its turn to lift the market,§ Huang said.

China chips, in particular, may attract more buying after the government reiterated that talks on a bilateral trade agreement with China remain on track, Huang said.

※After Goldman Sachs and Intel reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, market confidence seems to have recovered to some extent,§ he said.

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