Asian markets began the new decade broadly higher yesterday Monday Jan 4 with dealers in Tokyo lifted by news of extended credit to Japan Airlines and a strong yen as well as upbeat jobs data in the US.
“Asia is expected to remain the engine of growth for the world’s economy,” said Hiroshi Morikawa, a senior strategist at MU Investments Co, which manages the equivalent of US$13 billion in Tokyo.
“The first trading day of a year is often seen as a predictor of the year’s market climate. People are hoping this year will be better than last year and become more responsive to good news.”
And the new year saw the introduction of a new trading system in Tokyo as the stock exchange tries to keep ahead of its regional rivals following a series of technical problems in recent years.
Tokyo ended the day 1.03 percent higher at 10,654.79, a 15-month high, and Sydney added 0.12 percent to 4,876.3.
“The mood on the first day of trading this year is good,” Kenji Shiomura, market analyst at Daiwa Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Sentiment was helped after data from Washington showed seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in the week ending December 26 stood at 432,000, a fall of 22,000 from the previous week. The figure is the lowest since July 2008.
Japan’s exporters were also helped by the weaker yen.
The dollar eased to 92.79 yen in afternoon trade in Tokyo, down from 93.00 in New York late Thursday, and the euro fell to 132.58 yen from 133.26.
But Hong Kong was 0.23 percent lower at 21,823.28, while Shanghai dropped 1.02 percent to 3,243.76.
Banks and property developers led the decline in Shanghai on worries about a possible tightening of monetary policy amid inflation concerns.
China’s dealers ignored two surveys showing a strong manufacturing sector.
Elsewhere, Seoul rose 0.79 percent to 1,696.14, Taipei ended up 0.24 percent at 8,207.85, while Jakarta was 1.62 percent higher at 2,575.41 and Mumbai put on 0.54 percent to 17,558.73.
Manila dropped 1.56 percent to 3,005.01 and Bangkok edged 0.31 percent down to 732.28.
HONG KONG: Shares closed down 0.23 percent yesterday in a quiet first trading day of the new decade, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index falling 49.22 points to 21,823.28.
Volume was at HK$48.51 billion, against HK$47.76 billion on Wednesday, the last full trading day in 2009.
“The market is beginning to factor in positive new projects for this year,” said Bonnie Chang, an analyst at Yuanta Research.
SINGAPORE: Stocks retreated 0.11 percent yesterday after weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter gross domestic product data.
The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 3.07 points to 2,894.55.
However, falls were limited by gains in shipbuilder Cosco Corp, which rose 3.36 percent, and Singapore Telecom, which added 0.64 percent.
KUALA LAMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia rebounded marginally higher on the first trading day yesterday. Overall advancing counters outpaced declining counters by 579 to 159.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) rebounded from its intra-day low of 1,272.25 to close at its intra-day high of 1,275.75 yesterday, giving a day-on-day gain of 2.97 points, or 0.23 percent.
Ending the trading session on January 4, the first trading session of 2010, the stock market on both floors recorded rallies when demand power increased strongly.
Particularly, the index of Hochiminh Stock Exchange (STC) regained 22.28 points or 4.5 percent to 517.05 pts with the total matching order trade of 42.05 million shares worth over 1.7 trillion dong, down 17 percent in volume and 21 percent in value against previous session.
Similarly, the HNX Index also resumed 11.67 points or 6.94 percent to 179.84 pts with the total market trade of 26.86 million shares valued at 879 billion dong, decreasing over 15 percent in volume and 19 percent in value in comparison with previous session.
European shares kicked off the new year by hitting a 15-month high yesterday, extending last year’s sharp rally as positive economic data, stronger commodity prices and merger and acquisition news boosted sentiment.
By 1134 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.8 percent at 1,053.71 points, after touching 1,055.29, its highest point since early October of 2008.
In Paris, the CAC 40 closed above the key 4,000 points level for the first time since October 2008, jumping 1.97 percent to 4,013.97 points, and in Frankfurt, the DAX added 1,53 percent to 6,048.30 points.
The stock market has extended its 2009 rally into the new year.
Major stock indexes surged more than 1.5 percent Monday after improving news on manufacturing from China to the U.S. pointed to a strengthening global economy. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 156 points.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow industrials rose 155.91, or 1.5 percent, to 10,583.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 17.89, or 1.6 percent, to 1,132.99, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 39.27, or 1.7 percent, to 2,308.42.
Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, edged down to 3.83 percent from 3.84 percent late Thursday. Markets were closed Friday for New Year’s Day.
Crude oil rose $2.15 to settle at $81.51 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The technology industry got a boost after Robert W. Baird & Co. upgraded chipmaker Intel Corp. to “Outperform” and increased its price target on the stock to $26. The stock has traded in a range of $12.05 to $21.27 in the past 12 months.
The dollar fell against other currencies, while gold prices rose.
Four stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a relatively light 1 billion shares.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 14.71, or 2.4 percent, to 640.10.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7564 11.1895 0.0839 12.505 7.5378 7.4555 7.0916 AUD 1.0937 1.5778 0.0118 1.7634 1.0629 1.0513 0.141 CAD 1.0404 1.5008 0.0112 1.6773 1.011 0.9512 0.1341 CHF 1.029 1.4844 0.0111 1.659 0.9891 0.9408 0.1327 GBP 0.6203 0.8948 0.0067 0.6028 0.5962 0.5671 0.08 JPY 92.48 133.413 149.098 89.8737 88.8923 84.5535 11.923 EUR 0.6932 0.0075 1.1176 0.6737 0.6663 0.6338 0.0894 USD 1.4426 0.0108 1.6122 0.9718 0.9612 0.9143 0.1289 Bloomberg