Strong growth figures from Australia and hopes for Greece over its debt woes helped push Asian stocks broadly higher yesterday Wednesday March 3, but gains were limited.
Concerns ahead of the meeting of China’s key parliamentary session kept rises in check, with dealers unsure about Beijing’s future monetary policy plans.
CABNBERRA said earlier that the Australian economy grew 0.9 percent in the December quarter, its steepest rise since March 2008.
The figures also showed that the so-called “wonder from Down Under” expanded 2.7 percent over the year, shaking off the impact of the global financial meltdown, which wiped 0.8 percent off the world economy. Analysts had been expecting growth of 2.3 percent for the year.
The news boosted shares, with Sydney’s S&P/ASX200 closing up 0.72 percent, or 33.8 points, at 4,735.7.
“It certainly helped reconfirm to the market that things are going quite nicely here and Australia is the envy of the rest of the developed nations, without a doubt,” Macquarie Private Wealth director Lucinda Chan said.
Reports that Greece — mired in debt — would introduce new austerity measures in addition to its plan to soon issue bonds to raise up to e5 billion offered support.
TOKYO closed 0.31 percent, or 31.30 points, higher at 10,253.14.
HONG KONG: Stocks slipped 0.14 percent yesterday led by China Mobile, despite a recovery in index heavyweight HSBC.
China Mobile fell 2.42 percent to HK$74.60.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended down 29.32 points at 20,876.79.
“The market lacked momentum to advance further and softened as buying interest retreated,” said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities. “It needs solid, positive news to break through the 21,000 level.”
SINGAPORE: STOCKS finished higher yesterday, helped by broad-based buying in property shares.
The benchmark Straits Times Index closed 0.38 percent, or 10.59 points, higher at 2,782.79.
“Investors are kind of digesting recent measures imposed by the government. Buying was more to do with a technical rebound,” a dealer said.
SHANGHAI closed up 0.78 percent, or 23.90 points, to end at 3,097.01.
The market reversed earlier losses on bargain hunting, amid caution before the annual National People’s Congress.
“Investors are watching out for any signals regarding the economy or corporates’ outlook that may be sent during the government meetings,” Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told Dow Jones Newswires.
KUALA LAMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia paused to consolidate their recent gains in unison with the mixed performances on regional stock markets yesterday. Overall declining counters outpaced advancing counters by 402 to 294.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) fell from its intra-day high of 1,292.35 to its intra-day low of 1,284.14 yesterday. It closed at 1,286.10 points, giving a day-on-day loss of 1.97 points, or 0.15 percent.
In other markets:
SEOUL ended 0.45 percent, or 7.32 points, higher at 1,622.44.
TAIPEI rose 0.42 percent, or 31.90 points, to end at 7,629.52.
JAKARTA fell 9.50 points or 0.37 percent to 2,567.09.
MANILA closed up 0.24 percent, or 7.40 points, at 3,069.29.
BANGKOK finished up 0.25 percent, or 1.85 points, at 735.04.
MUMBAI closed up 1.36 percent, or 227.45 points to 17,000.01.
VIETNAM: The index of Hochiminh Stock Exchange (STC) jumped 6.32 points or 1.26 percent to 507.32 pts with the total matching order trade of 36.21 million shares for 1.479 trillion dong, up nearly 4 percent in volume and 8 percent in value day on day.
Similarly, the HNX Index also established the 170 point threshold after gaining 4.81 points or 2.91 percent to 170.22 pts.
EUROPE: European shares rose for the fourth straight day yesterday, boosted by upbeat US economic data, optimism on Greece’s deficit, and with Standard Chartered rising after results.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally ended 0.8 percent higher at 1,035.17 points, its highest close since January 21.
The benchmark index is up more than 60 percent from a record low it hit on March 9 2009.
Across Europe, London’s main FTSE 100 index was up 0.90 percent to 5,533.21 points.
In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.80 percent to 3,842.52 points and in Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.72 percent to 5,817.88 points.
AMERICA: Early gains in stocks unraveled Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled that the economic recovery will be slow.
Stocks ended mixed after the Fed’s announcement that economic activity has improved in nine of its 12 districts but that the gains are “modest.”
The Dow fell 9.22, or 0.1 percent, to 10,396.76. It had risen nearly 64 points during trading.
The broader S&P 500 index rose 0.48, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,118.79, its highest close since Jan. 20. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 0.11, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,280.68.
Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.63 percent from 3.61 percent late Tuesday.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies. Gold rose.
Crude oil rose $1.19 to $80.87 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 0.95, or 0.2 percent, to 649.26.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7628 10.6299 0.0876 11.7079 7.2657 7.5212 7.0192 AUD 1.106 1.5144 0.0125 1.668 1.0351 1.0715 0.1425 CAD 1.0321 1.4133 0.0116 1.5567 0.966 0.9333 0.133 CHF 1.0684 1.463 0.0121 1.6114 1.0352 0.9661 0.1376 GBP 0.663 0.9079 0.0075 0.6206 0.6424 0.5995 0.0854 JPY 88.595 121.316 133.619 82.9215 85.8371 80.1076 11.4127 EUR 0.7303 0.0082 1.1014 0.6835 0.7076 0.6603 0.0941 USD 1.3693 0.0113 1.5082 0.936 0.9689 0.9042 0.1288 Bloomberg