Asian markets mostly higher on Greek debt deal

24-Feb-2015 Intellasia | Business Times | Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | AP | 9:33 AM Print This Post

Asian stocks broadly rose Monday February 23 as investors cheered a tentative deal to extend Greece’s bailout, giving Athens a last-minute lifeline to pay its bills and avoid a damaging default.
Tokyo led the charge with the benchmark Nikkei adding to a 15-year high as it rose 0.73 percent, or 134.62 points, to finish at 18,466.92.
Sydney was up 0.45 percent, or 26.46 points, at 5,908.0, and Seoul closed 0.35 percent, or 6.94 points, higher at 1,968.39.
Hong Kong crawled out of negative territory with the Hang Seng closing 0.02 percent, or 4.68 points, higher at 24,836.76.
Exchanges in Taiwan and mainland China are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Asian shares picked up on a strong lead from Wall Street which surged to fresh records Friday after Greece was granted a provisional four-month debt bailout extension, easing worries over its future in the eurozone.
European finance ministers gave Athens until Monday to present proposals that would persuade creditors to keep its loan lifeline open.
“Discussions over Greece have been tipping toward the EU compromising, so the market consensus is that the worst-case scenario will be avoided,” Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
“It’s difficult to maintain a short position.”
But Australia & New Zealand Banking Group warned that the bailout extension offered only a “small window of reprieve”.
“Continued geopolitical ructions with Russia over the Ukraine, as well as the unrest in the Middle East, means there are many issues that will continue to hold sway in political discussions, distracting politicians from economic policy,” it added.
The West sounded more forceful warnings over Ukraine’s battered truce Sunday as fighting raged around the port city of Mariupol and the warring sides wrangled over withdrawing heavy weapons.
Investors were also looking ahead to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s Congressional testimony starting from Tuesday as markets seek fresh clues on the timeline for a US interest rate rise, widely expected by mid-year.
In forex trading, the euro slipped to $1.1343 and 135.20 yen, from $1.1381 and 135.51 yen on Friday in New York where it got a boost from the conditional Greek debt deal.
The dollar rose to 119.21 yen from 119.03 yen in US trade.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.86 percent to 18,140.44, notching its first record of 2015, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.61 percent to 2,110.30, also a fresh record. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.63 percent.
Oil briefly rebounded following a sharp decline last week, but worries about oversupply weighed on rates in late afternoon trading.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery fell 71 cents to $50.25 while Brent crude for April lost 86 cents to $59.57.
Gold fetched $1,193.04 an ounce from $1,209.13 on Friday.
In other markets:
- Wellington edged up 0.09 percent, or 5.41 points, to 5,754.36.
Telecom Chorus rose 1.06 percent to NZ$2.86 and Air New Zealand added 0.39 percent to NZ$2.60.
- Manila closed 0.01 percent, or 0.68 points, higher at 7,826.07.
Top-traded Ayala Land rose 0.97 percent to 36.30 pesos.
- Singapore closed down 0.42 percent, or 14.36 points, at 3,421.30.
Oil rig maker Keppel Corp fell 1.14 percent to Sg$8.67 while DBS Bank rose 1.03 percent to Sg$19.65.
- Jakarta ended up 0.06 percent, or 3.17 points, at 5,403.28.
Consumer goods company Unilever Indonesia gained 2.05 percent to 36,050 rupiah, while palm oil firm Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology slipped 2.19 percent to 6,700 rupiah.
- Kuala Lumpur gained 1.52 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 1,809.39.
British American Tobacco fell 1.89 percent to 68.38 ringgit and AMMB Holdings dipped 0.78 percent to 6.34. Petronas Gas added 1.08 percent to 22.54 ringgit.
- Bangkok slipped 0.60 percent, or 9.56 points, to 1,593.89.
Bumrungrad Hospital dropped 0.95 percent to 156.50 baht, while Siam Cement fell 2.23 percent to 526.00 baht.
- Mumbai closed down 0.88 percent or 256.30 points at 28,975.11.
Reliance Industries ended 2.53 percent lower at 851.15 rupees and Tata Motors closed down 0.84 percent at 573.95 rupees.

AMERICA: The slump in crude oil prices and disappointing U.S. home sales data helped nudge stocks mostly lower on Monday, pulling the market back from an all-time high reached last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index spent much of the day hovering slightly below their most-recent highs. But the Nasdaq composite mounted a late-afternoon comeback that extended its recent win streak for the ninth day in a row.
Oil drilling companies and homebuilders notched broad declines, while traders bid up shares in utilities stocks.
Investors were looking ahead to the start of a two-day round of Congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The remarks could provide insight into when the central bank will begin raising its key interest rate from near zero.
“The markets are in a holding pattern,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer of Wells Fargo Private Bank. “We’ll have some very interesting information coming up from Janet Yellen tomorrow and Wednesday, so the markets are looking at that very closely.”
The Dow ended down 23.60 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,116.84. The S&P 500 fell 0.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,109.66. The Nasdaq gained 5.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,960.97. The index, which has yet to reclaim its record high from the dot-com era, in now within 87 points of that March 2000 peak.
The three stock indexes are up for the year.
Stocks started off the day basically flat as investors weighed developments in Greece and falling oil prices.
Greece’s new government and its creditors reached an agreement over the weekend that staved off the threat of a Greek bankruptcy and an exit from the euro. Athens was expected to send creditors a list of reforms tied to the four-month bailout pact early Tuesday.
The price of oil fell for the fourth day in a row as the return of a Libyan oil field raised expectations for more oil supply. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.36 to close at $49.45 a barrel in New York.
That helped drag down shares in several offshore oil drilling and oilfield services companies.
Transocean fell 75 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $16.26, while Ensco shed $1.11, or 3.7 percent, to $28.65. Nabors Industries fell the most among stocks in the S&P 500, losing 67 cents, or 5 percent, to $12.85.
Investors bought up shares in Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which announced on Sunday a deal to buy rival drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals for about $10 billion in cash. Valeant rose $25.49, or 15 percent, to $198.75.
A midmorning report showing that sales of previously occupied homes tumbled 4.9 percent last month sent most homebuilder shares lower. UCP declined the most, shedding 45 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $8.97.
“The home numbers were a little disappointing,” said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.
All told, six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 fell. Telecommunications stocks declined the most. Utilities stocks led the gainers.
Tuesday will provide investors with some fresh insight on the U.S. consumer.
The Conference Board will report its latest consumer confidence index. January’s reading surged to the highest level since August 2007, and economists anticipate a pullback in this month’s reading.
But the biggest market-moving news could come from the Fed.
Yellen is scheduled to deliver her semiannual report to Congress on the economy and interest rates. Investors will be listening for any hints of when the central bank will move to raise its key interest rate. Higher Fed rates would affect rates on many consumer and business loans and could depress stock and bond prices.
The Fed’s most recent policy statement expressed the intention to be “patient” about raising rates. Many economists have predicted the central bank will raise rates in June.
In other futures trading Monday, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.32 to close at $58.90 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 0.5 cents to close at $1.646 a gallon. Heating oil rose 10.6 cents to close at $2.218 a gallon, and natural gas fell 7.2 cents to close at $2.879 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Precious and industrial metals futures closed slightly lower. Gold fell $4.10 to $1,200.80 an ounce, silver fell two cents to $16.25 an ounce and copper edged down less than a penny to $2.59 a pound.
U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.06 percent from 2.11 percent late Friday.
Among other stocks making moves Monday:
— Cooper Tire & Rubber fell 5 percent after the tire maker reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of what Wall Street analysts had expected. The stock shed $1.89 to $35.82.
— Tower Semiconductor reported a profit during its fourth quarter after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. Shares in the chipmaker vaulted $2.07, or 15.1 percent, to $15.76.
— Polypore International surged 12.7 percent on news the company is selling its energy storage business to Asahi Kasei for $2.2 billion after it sells another segment to 3M for $1 billion. The stock gained $6.75 to $59.70.

Benchmark Currency Rates



1.1336 0.0084 1.5439 1.0521 0.7952 0.7786 0.1289


0.8822 0.0074 1.3620 0.9281 0.7015 0.6874 0.1137


119.0200 134.8900 183.7160 125.1730 94.6020 92.6600 15.3435


0.6477 0.7342 0.0054 0.6814 0.5150 0.5047 0.0835


0.9505 1.0780 0.0080 1.4675 0.7558 0.7408 0.1226


1.2578 1.4256 0.0106 1.9418 1.3231 0.9800 0.1622


1.2830 1.4560 0.0108 1.9812 1.3500 1.0204 0.1654


7.7566 8.7927 0.0652 11.9764 8.1608 6.1676 6.0450


Source: Bloomberg


Category: FinanceAsia

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