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Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Good forecasts propel MSCI to five-month high

GOOD NEWSThe MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 126.95 points, its highest since Aug. 12, and rose 53 percent in the past year on signs of recovery

AFP , HONG KONG AND BLOOMBERG

Asian shares rose last week, driving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to a five-month high, as forecasts from Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Intel Corp boosted finance and technology companies.

Commonwealth Bank, the nation’s biggest lender, jumped 2.3 percent in Sydney after saying first-half unaudited cash profit rose.

Hynix Semiconductor Inc climbed 2.6 percent in Seoul as Intel forecast first-quarter sales that beat analyst estimates.

JFE Holdings Inc, Japan’s second-largest steelmaker by market value, fell 3.4 percent on speculation it may have to pay more for iron ore.

Cnooc Ltd, China’s largest offshore oil producer, sank 1.1 percent as crude fell for a fifth day.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 126.95 at 5:50pm in Tokyo, its highest level since Aug. 12.

The measure rose 2.2 percent in the previous five days. The gauge surged 53 percent in the past year on signs of recovery in the region’s economies.

“The good news is still flowing through, but some of it is looking a bit more mixed,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy in Sydney at AMP Capital Investors, which oversees about US$90 billion globally.

“Investors are feeling a bit cautious,” he said.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI Index climbed 1 percent.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co surged 15 percent in Seoul after Posco’s chief executive officer said he would consider a bid for the shipbuilder.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was set for its fourth weekly advance as reports last week of a bigger-than-expected increase in Australian jobs, a surge in Chinese exports and Japanese machine-tool orders boosted confidence in the strength of the global economy.

The gauge has climbed 80 percent from its lowest level in more than five years on March 9, outpacing gains of 70 percent by the S&P 500 and 64 percent for Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index.

Stocks in the MSCI measure are valued at 20 times estimated earnings, compared with 15 times for the S&P and 13 times for the Stoxx 600.

Hong Kong fell 0.29 percent, or 62.79 points, to 21,654.16.

TAIPEI

The TAIEX index climbed 66.91, or 0.8 percent, to close at 8,356.89, the highest since June 2008.

The index rose 0.9 percent this week, the fourth straight weekly gain.

Other regional markets:

KUALA MUMPUR: Malaysian shares were up 0.30 percent, or 3.87 points, at 1,298.58.

JAKARTA: Indonesian shares were flat, rising 1.91 points to 2,647.09.

MANILA: Philippine shares lost 0.11 percent, or 3.44 points, to 3,118.47 on profit-taking.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares fell 0.62 percent, or 20.38 points, to 3,257.95.

MUMBAI: Indian shares eased 0.17 percent, or 30.57 points, to 17,554.30.

Dealers unwound stocks ahead of the weekend, on growing concerns the central bank could tighten monetary policy to curb inflation.

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