Resources stocks helped lift Asian markets yesterday Monday March 1, as metal prices surged on concerns that supply could be disrupted by damage from a massive earthquake in Chile.
Shares were also higher on hopes that the European Union was close to announcing more concrete measures to deal with the sovereign debt problem in Greece, although a lack of specific details tempered investor enthusiasm.
Supply worries mounted following Saturday’s 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile, the world’s largest copper producing country.
Prices of the metal surged on fears of damaged mining infrastructure, dealers said, warning however that a rally would likely be short-lived.
TOKYO: The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 46.03 points to end at 10,172.06.
HONG KONG: Shares here and in China ended at their highest in five weeks yesterday led by Chinese financial stocks.
The Hang Seng Index ended up 2.17 per cent or 448.23 points at 21,056.93, its highest close since January 20.
“Strong resistance was noted at above the 21,000 level as investors were looking to lock in gains rather than betting on a further rise,” said Daniel Chan, senior investment strategist from DBS Bank.
SINGAPORE: Stocks rallied yesterday, following better-than-expected earnings and on signs that Greece’s debt crisis could be easing.
The Straits Times Index gained 0.84 per cent, or 23.20 points, to 2,774.06, its highest close since February 23.
“Confidence is high as most of the company results are good …” an analyst said.
SYDNEY closed 48.8 points, or 1.05 per cent, up at 4,686.50.
SHANGHAI added 1.18 per cent, with the Composite Index up 35.90 points at 3,087.84 despite lingering concerns over further domestic credit tightening and widespread caution ahead of China’s annual legislative meetings.
KUALA LAMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia rallied in tandem with the strong rebounds on regional stock markets yesterday. Its overall declining counters outpaced advancing counters by 398 to 355.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) rebounded from its intra-day low of 1,276.52 to its intra-day high of 1,284.97 yesterday. It closed at 1,283.40 points, giving a day-on-day gain of 12.62 points, or 0.99 per cent.
Markets in South Korea, India and Thailand were closed for public holidays.
Eurozone debt fears also continued to stalk markets, after earlier reports that Germany and France could be organising a bailout for debt-hit Greece were met with a denial from Berlin.
“Markets remain in two minds at the moment. Greece is never far from the headlines,” said Khoon Goh, senior economist at ANZ bank in Wellington.
In other markets:
TAIPEI ended 1.90 per cent, or 141.65 points, higher at 7,577.75.
JAKARTA closed up 0.22 per cent or 5.64 points to 2,554.67.
Benign inflation data for February spurred hopes the central bank would keep its key rate unchanged at 6.5 percent.
MANILA closed up 1.2 per cent, or 35.16 points, at 3,078.91.
VIETNAM: The VN Index gained another 6.1 points or 1.23 percent to 503.01 pts, marking the third consecutive increase on the southern bourse.
The liquidity saw a slight rise when the total trading volume reached 32.38 million shares worth 1.14 trillion dong, increasing 4.1 percent in volume and 10.5 percent in value.
Like the southern floor, the northern bourse also recorded the second consecutive gain as the HNX Index bounced 3.85 points or 2.37 percent to end at 166.26 pts. The liquidity increased strongly with the total trading volume of 19.49 million shares valued at 629.62 billion dong, up 40 percent in volume and 43 percent in value against the previous session.
EUROPE: European shares closed higher yesterday, with firm commodity prices lifting miners and oils, while HSBC fell as it missed forecasts and Prudential slumped after it agreed to buy AIG’s Asian assets for US$35.5 billion.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed up 1.1 per cent at 1,018.78 points, having hit its highest intra-day level in a week at 1,019.32 points.
London’s main FTSE 100 index up 0.96 per cent at 5,405.94 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 1.64 per cent to 3,769.54 points while in Frankfurt, the DAX jumped 2.06 per cent to 5,713.51 points.
Oil majors were supported after crude rose above US$80 a barrel. BP, BG, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and ENI rose 0.7 to 2.8 per cent.
Miners gained on firmer copper prices. Anglo American, Eurasian Natural Resources, Kazakhmys, BHP Billiton, Xstrata and Rio Tinto rose 2.5 to 5.2 per cent.
AMERICA: Major stock indexes rose to their highest levels in more than a month Monday after corporate buyouts raised hopes about the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 79 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the basis of many mutual funds, erased its losses for the year. The Nasdaq composite index also turned positive for 2010 after a Japanese drugmaker said it was pursuing OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. and SanDisk Corp. raised its revenue forecast.
The Dow rose 78.53, or 0.8 percent, to 10,403.79, its highest close since Jan. 20. The Dow is down 24 points for the year, though still down 322 points from a 15-month high on Jan. 19.
The broader S&P 500 index rose 11.22, or 1 percent, to 1,115.71, its best level since Jan. 21. It is now up 0.1 percent for 2010. The Nasdaq rose 35.31, or 1.6 percent, to 2,273.57. It is up 0.2 percent for the year.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 14.09, or 2.2 percent, to 642.65.
Bond prices mostly rose, pushing down yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.61 percent from 3.62 percent late Friday.
The dollar rose against other major currencies, while gold fell.
Crude oil fell 96 cents to settle at $78.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Four stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 3.8 billion shares compared with 4.2 billion Friday.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7646 10.528 0.087 11.6252 7.1925 7.4581 6.9819 AUD 1.1121 1.5079 0.0125 1.665 1.0302 1.0682 0.1432 CAD 1.0411 1.4116 0.0117 1.5587 0.9644 0.9362 0.1341 CHF 1.0795 1.4637 0.0121 1.6163 1.0369 0.9707 0.139 GBP 0.6679 0.9056 0.0075 0.6187 0.6415 0.6006 0.086 JPY 89.257 121.027 133.636 82.6806 85.7334 80.2599 11.4954 EUR 0.7375 0.0083 1.1042 0.6832 0.7084 0.6632 0.095 USD 1.3559 0.0112 1.4972 0.9263 0.9605 0.8992 0.1288 Bloomberg