Asian markets mostly rose yesterday, tracking gains on Wall Street amid positive US economic data and International Monetary Fund plans to boost its coffers for crisis fighting.
In Tokyo, stocks ended at their highest close in more than a month. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.04 percent, or 89.10 points to 8,639.68, closing above the 8,600 mark for the first time since December 12.
“Fears over the European debt crisis are receding,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
In Shanghai, the composite index was up 1.31 percent, or 29.69 points, to 2,296.07. However, the long market Lunar New Year holiday next week injected some caution, dealers said.
Seoul jumped 1.19 percent, or 22.58 points, to 1,914.97 but Sydney nudged 3.1 points lower to 4,214.8.
On Wednesday, the IMF said that it planned to add US$500 billion more to pad its war chest.
“The IMF news was certainly taken positively by the market because it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s going to be a long road,” said Justin Gallagher, RBS head of sales trading and execution in Sydney.
Rosy US economic data buoyed Wall Street on Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.78 percent.
HONG KONG: Shares closed 1.30 percent higher yesterday following another batch of positive US data and International Monetary Fund plans to boost its crisis-fighting coffers.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 256.03 points to 19,942.95.
Financial shares, in particular insurers, were key drivers for the index, partly on expectations that any boost in Chinese asset prices will lift their investment income.
SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian markets closed higher after news the International Monetary Fund could provide further help to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.
However, late selling left indices off their highs as investors looked for cash ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays.
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index closed up 0.57 percent, or 15.80 points, at 2,811.20.
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed mixed yesterday on mild profit-taking ahead of the long Chinese New Year weekend, dealers said.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index ended 0.57 point lower at 1,516.81, dragged down by losses in financial counters and selected heavyweights, including Genting, Maybank and Axiata.
Genting fell 18 sen to RM10.82, Maybank dropped eight sen to RM8.20 and Axiata slid three sen to RM4.84.
In other markets:
* Manila rose 0.49 percent, climbing 22.75 points to 4,700.37.
* Jakarta was 0.58 percent, or 22.95 points, higher at 4,001.07.
* Bangkok rose 0.69 percent or 7.30 points to 1,058.94.
* Mumbai added 1.17 percent, or 192.27 points, to end at 16,643.74.
* Taipei was closed for a public holiday.
VIETNAM: The VN Index January 19 ended up 10.77 points or nearly 3 percent to 373.4 pts. Thus, in the first 13 trading sessions since early this year, The VN Index gained points for nine consecutive trading sessions.
The HNX Index also gained over 2 percent to 58.41 pts. The trading volume reached nearly 22 million units worth 162 billion dong, up 26 percent from the previous trading session.
EUROPE: European stock markets rose following positive government bond sales by France and Spain despite last week’s downgrades for the eurozone countries.
Sentiment was also boosted by positive US economic data overnight and International Monetary Fund plans to boost its coffers for crisis fighting.
In European midday trade, the Paris CAC 40 rose 0.76 percent to 3,289.61 points and Madrid’s IBEX 35 jumped 1.0 percent to 8,504.40.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 climbed 0.24 percent to 6,369.63 points and London’s FTSE 100 grew 0.20 percent to 5,713.94.
AMERICA: Strong corporate earnings reports and the lowest unemployment claims in almost four years gave investors more reasons Thursday to take risks on stocks, and the market continued its quiet but solid January climb.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 45.03 points to close at 12,623.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 6.46 points to close at 1,314.50. Both averages are at their highest since July.
Volume was slightly above average. The market has been subdued this year: The S&P has moved up or down 1 percent or more only twice, and the Dow has moved 100 points only once, a 179-point gain on opening day, Jan. 3.
But the gains have been steady. The S&P has closed higher 12 of 14 days, and all three major averages have recorded healthy advances for the young year – 3.3 percent for the Dow, 4.4 percent for the S&P and 7 percent for the Nasdaq composite index.
Investors appear ready to believe that the economic recovery is for real and getting stronger.
“The market is screaming loud and clear,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist with ING Investment Management. “Prices have lagged fundamentals, and now they’re catching up.”
After the market closed, Google stock plunged more than 10 percent after its earnings per share badly missed Wall Street expectations. Intel and Microsoft rose slightly in after-hours trading after more encouraging reports.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7615 10.0610 0.1007 12.0254 8.3228 7.6698 8.0843 - AUD 0.9601 1.2445 0.0125 1.4875 1.0295 0.9487 - 0.1237 CAD 1.0120 1.3118 0.0131 1.5679 1.0851 - 1.0540 0.1304 CHF 0.9326 1.2088 0.0121 1.4449 - 0.9215 0.9713 0.1202 GBP 0.6454 0.8366 0.0084 - 0.6921 0.6378 0.6723 0.0832 JPY 77.0955 99.9366 - 119.449 82.6708 76.1843 80.3019 9.9330 EUR 0.7714 - 0.0100 1.1952 0.8272 0.7623 0.8035 0.0994 USD - 1.2963 0.0130 1.5494 1.0723 0.9882 1.0416 0.1288 Bloomberg