Asian stocks rose for a second week, as US economic reports raised confidence in the strength of global recovery, and as investors bet the Federal Reserve will leave the benchmark US interest rate at a record low.
Caltex Australia Ltd surged 8.1 percent in Sydney after Macquarie Group Ltd boosted the oil-refining company’s share forecast. Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp (宏達電) climbed 3.3 percent in Taipei this week after posting an unexpected profit increase. Canon Inc, the world’s largest camera maker, fell 3.4 percent in Tokyo after Goldman Sachs Group Inc cut its rating, and as the yen strengthened against the US dollar during the end of the week.
“Recent US data has been unequivocally positive, which has been boosting investor risk appetite globally,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps oversee about US$1.7 billion at Platypus Asset Management in Sydney.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index advanced 1.19 percent this week as economic reports from the US showed signs of global recovery.
Taiwan’s TAIEX index climbed 0.8 percent in the past week to 8,092.03.
“The market has rallied as the recovery momentum is building up,” said Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management (Asia) Ltd, which oversees US$11 billion. “We need to see better-than-expected economic data and earnings to sustain this rally.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 3.1 percent this week, its best weekly return in six, while South Korea’s KOSPI index rose 0.1 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.8 percent this week as commodity prices gained on indications the US economic growth will accelerate.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.7 percent this week as the yen reversed some of its recent losses, raising concerns about the earnings outlook for companies dependent on overseas demand. China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4 percent.
Markets in Australia, New Zealand, China and Taiwan were closed on Monday for holidays. Hong Kong’s markets were closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Caltex jumped 8.1 percent to A$12.22 after Macquarie analysts raised the company’s share-price forecast by 12 percent, citing a “more optimistic outlook for margins.”
Japanese exporters declined as the yen strengthened during the week, raising concern it will reduce companies’ revenue from overseas sales when converted into the local currency. Canon retreated 3.4 percent to ¥4,250 after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to “neutral” from “buy.” Panasonic Corp, the world’s biggest maker of plasma televisions, declined 1.1 percent to ¥1,423.
Komatsu Ltd, the world’s second-largest maker of construction equipment, slumped 3.7 percent to ¥1,910 after the Cabinet Office said on Thursday that machine orders unexpectedly fell 5.4 percent in February from January.
Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his board left the benchmark interest rate at 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote, the central bank said in a statement in Tokyo on Wednesday.
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