Sun, Sep 10, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Asian shares highest since 2007, led by Chinese firms

Bloomberg and Reuters, SHANGHAI

Stocks in Asia on Friday touched a level not seen since December 2007 as a rally in Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies offset weakness in South Korea and Japan amid speculation of a missile launch by Pyongyang yesterday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 161.81 as of 4:33pm in Hong Kong, led by China Gas Holdings Ltd (中國燃氣控股), which extended gains from a record on Thursday after bullish growth forecasts.

The regional benchmark rose 0.4 percent this week.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Friday closed up 71.44 points, or 0.68 percent, at the day’s high of 10,609.95. The index rose 0.14 percent from last week’s 10,594.82.

Hong Kong stocks rose on Friday, helped by expectations that China’s economic growth will remain solid, but they were still down for the week as investors who worried about North Korea tread warily.

For the day, the Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent to 27,668.47 points. The China Enterprises Index (HSCE) also gained 0.5 percent, to 11,149.64 points.

For the week, the Hang Seng lost 1 percent, while the HSCE was down 1.2 percent.

Financial firms lost 1.9 percent in the week, being the biggest drag on the market following weakness on Wall Street.

Among the biggest gainers, material shares advanced 3.8 percent in the week, thanks to a weaker US dollar and solid China economic data.

Developers also rallied strongly, with an index tracking major real-estate firms gaining 1.9 percent this week to its highest since early 2008.

Top developer China Vanke Co (萬科) jumped 11.7 percent in its best week since December 2015, hovering near a record high, after the firm posted solid sales growth last year.

The regional benchmark has climbed almost 20 percent this year amid a rebound in momentum in China, Asia’s largest economy, recouping most of its losses since the financial crisis.

Driving the performance this year are technology giants Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) and Samsung Electronics.

“While fundamentals are improving, Asia’s rally this year is a bit overheated and there may be a technical pullback ahead,” said Margaret Yang, a Singapore-based analyst at CMC Markets.

South Korean automakers were among the biggest drags on the Asian benchmark on Friday as Hyundai Wia Corp plunged 7.1 percent to a four-month low and Hanon Systems slumped 3.5 percent, the most in a month.

South Korea’s KOSPI gauge slipped 0.1 percent, while the KOSPI 200 rose 0.2 percent.

Japan’s TOPIX closed 0.3 percent lower as the yen maintained gains against the US dollar after hitting its strongest level since November last year.

The index still posted the worst week since April on rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and natural disasters in the western hemisphere. The Nikkei on Friday fell 0.6 percent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.1 percent, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.5 percent and Thailand’s SET rose 0.6 percent.

The Philippines’ PSEi was little changed, while Vietnam’s VN Index added 0.6 percent.

FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI slid 0.3 percent.

India’s SENSEX inched up 0.1 percent while the NIFTY was little changed.

Additional reporting by CNA

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