Asian stocks close sharply higher on US figures
HONG KONG: Asian stocks rallied strongly around Wall Street on Friday after the US government revised its growth rates upward signalling the global economy has not run out of steam.
Sharp gains were reported in nearly all major markets, where poor sentiment has weighed on recent trade, after the US Commerce Department reported that the US economy grew an annualized 3.5 percent in the first quarter. This was well above the initial estimate of 3.1 percent.
TOKYO: Share prices closed 1.49 percent higher led by tech stocks after an upward revision to first-quarter US economic growth figures boosted investor sentiment and Wall Street.
The Nikkei-225 index rose 164.39 points to 11,192.33. The US growth revision led the technology-heavy Nasdaq index to rise 1.0 percent and the Dow gained 0.7 percent. “The upbeat tone on Nasdaq was behind the sharp gain of the Nikkei,” said Norihiro Fujito of Mitsubishi Securities.
“Tech shares here got a boost from Intel Corp, which surged to its highest level since June 2004, along with gains by other high-techs like Cisco, Yahoo and Google.” “The weaker yen, which was hovering near the 108 to the dollar mark also helped lift the high-tech sector,” he said. A weak yen makes Japanese exports cheaper in overseas markets.
SEOUL: Shares closed 1.8 percent higher on eased concern over the US economy and strong program buying while South Korea’s central bank currency swap deal with China and Japan also boosted sentiment. The Wall Street rally was “the main factor driving the market,” Hanhwa Securities analyst Lee Young-gon said. The KOSPI index closed up 17 points at 960.91.
Samsung Electronics surged 8,000 won to 490,000 won after Moody’s raised the outlook for the company’s A3 foreign currency bond rating to positive from stable, reflecting its ability to keep improving its capital base.
HONG KONG: Share prices closed 1.07 percent higher following gains on Wall Street overnight but trading was thin ahead of the settlement of May futures contracts next Monday and some big initial public offerings. The Hang Seng Index closed up 144.79 points at 13,714.78.
“The market saw a technical rebound today following gains on Wall Street overnight,” said Eugene Law of Shenyin Wanguo Securities. “People have been waiting for this rebound after the market’s weak performance in recent days.”
TAIPEI: Prices closed 0.88 percent higher in line with Wall Street while sentiment was boosted by authorities, who said no study into the prospect of dividing market trading into two sessions had been done. Wall Street’s performance overnight convinced investors to adopt a positive stance, said Eric Lai of Fidelity Securities Investment Trust Fund.
“Thanks to the US lead, the local stock market rallied ... and the electronics sector also took a cue from US technology stocks,” Lai said. The weighted index closed up 52.13 points at 5,991.55.
SHANGHAI: Share prices closed 0.65 percent lower with the benchmark index touching its lowest level in nearly eight years after blue chips came under pressure from fund managers.
Dealers said that once again the market was hit by continued pessimism about Beijing’s plan to tackle the overhang of state-owned, non-tradable stock in listed companies. Recent losses have now left the Shanghai composite index at its lowest level since September 1997, with already badly undercut sentiment heightening fears that the sale plan will dilute the value of investors current holdings.
The Shanghai A-share Index fell 7.25 points to 1,104.03 while the Shenzhen A-share Index was down 2.73 points.
SINGAPORE: Share prices failed to follow Wall Street’s march and closed flat with sustained high world oil prices dousing bargain-hunting interest. The Straits Times Index rose 2.14 points to 2,154.70. “We’re seeing some bargain-hunting as stock prices eased in recent sessions,” a foreign brokerage dealer said.
“But in the broader market, it’s generally very quiet and gains have probably been capped by oil prices remaining high.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices closed 0.23 percent higher in listless trade due to last minute buying of blue chips by local funds which reversed the market’s earlier downtrend. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed up 2.01 points at 869.11. “Market sentiment was negative for most of the day as few investors were willing to re-enter the market, but a last-minute concerted effort by local funds to support key blue chips managed to reverse the downside trend,” a local brokerage dealer said. He said he does not expect a significant technical rebound with the index drifting between 860 and 880 points with a downside bias as there were no positive catalysts to drive the market higher.
BANGKOK: Shares edged up 0.13 percent in tight-range trading as investors remained concerned over Thai economic data and interest rates. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index rose 0.84 points to 663.48. “Local retail investors began to take profits,” said Kosin Sripaiboon of UOB Kay Hian Securities. “They expect foreign investors will move their investment out of the Thai market after poor trade figures.”
MUMBAI: Indian share prices closed 0.5 percent higher fuelled by buying in software stocks and strong corporate results from tobacco major ITC. The Mumbai stock exchange’s 30-share Sensex rose 36.94 points to close above the 6,700 mark at 6,707.72. afp