Asian stocks gained, pushing the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index to a fourth consecutive weekly advance, as signs of economic growth in Hong Kong and Taiwan boosted investor confidence.
Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (新鴻基地產), the world’s largest developer by market value, had the biggest advance since February after it said leasing demand is rising.
Healthcare stocks rallied the most among the 10 industries in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index after Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, India’s biggest drugmaker by sales, won exclusive rights to sell an Alzheimer’s treatment.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index climbed 1.01 percent to 125.51 this week, and reached its highest level in almost five months on Wednesday. Signs of growth among Asian nations outweighed a deteriorating profit outlook for US banks and speculation that the Federal Reserve will purchase more government debt to support the world’s biggest economy.
“Asia will continue to do relatively well,” said Sean Darby, an Asian regional strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc in Hong Kong. “The overall worries about China’s banking and property sector seems to have dissipated for the moment. There’s been a gap in the fact that there’s not been a lot of bad macro news to weigh markets down.”
The MSCI Asia-Pacific has rallied 15.3 percent since May 25 and is up 4.2 percent for the year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of US equities has climbed 0.9 percent this year, while the STOXX Europe 600 Index advanced 2.8 percent.
The Hang Seng Index gained 0.7 percent this week after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said the city’s economy will grow at a “moderate” pace through the end of this year. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.8 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slumped 1.6 percent for the week. South Korea’s KOSPI index rose 1.1 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index advanced 0.5 percent.
Taiwan’s TAIEX gained 0.1 percent this week. The TAIEX closed down 0.44 percent from Thursday as selling focused on select high-tech heavyweights amid lingering concerns over global demand due to signs of a slowing world economy, dealers said.
The weighted index fell 35.92 points on Friday to 8,166.62, after moving between 8,129.21 and 8,190.96, on turnover of NT$120.49 billion (US$3.82 billion).
The market opened down 0.25 percent on Wall Street’s overnight fall, and selling continued amid fears that more disappointing US economic data will follow the latest worse-than-expected jobless claims, dealers said.
Grand Cathay Securities (大華證券) analyst Mars Hsu said pressure around the 8,200-point level remained strong, although the index closed above that on Thursday.
“So, investors witnessed selling right after the market opened this morning, in particular after sentiment was dampened by the Wall Street decline,” Hsu said.
Hsu said the market was also affected by a reported increase in existing US home sales for last month.
“The market is full of conflicting economic information. Such uncertainty is the last thing it wants to have, “ Hsu said. “Cutting holdings and retaining cash may be the wise thing to do for the moment.”
Other markets on Friday:
Manila rose 0.28 percent, or 11.45 points, to 4,078.87.
Wellington closed 0.52 percent, or 16.87 points, lower at 3,211.16.
Mumbai rose 0.93 percent, or 184.17 points, to 20,045.18. The market closed at its highest since January 2008.
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