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Asian stocks rise as U.S. jobs figures boost recovery hopes

Asian stocks rise as U.S. jobs figures boost recovery hopes

Asian stocks rose, driving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its highest intraday level in more than 19 months, as U.S. jobs data boosted confidence in the strength of the global economic recovery.
Canon Inc., the world's biggest camera maker, climbed 2.4 percent as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar, lifting the earnings outlook for Japanese exporters.
Kobe Steel Ltd. surged 6.8 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.2 percent in Seoul after the Maeil Business Newspaper reported the company will expand a chip- making factory.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 126.64 yesterday. in Tokyo, with about five stocks advancing for every three that declined.
The gauge, which earlier touched its highest intraday level since Aug. 12, 2008, has climbed 11 percent from its 2010 low on Feb. 8 as a Federal Reserve pledge to keep borrowing costs down and better-than-estimated economic data boosted investor sentiment.
"Overall, we are seeing positive signs about the global economy," said Hiroaki Muto, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., which manages US$111 billion. "While developing nations are leading global growth, they are waiting for the U.S. to rebound.
Recent reports are suggesting that the U.S. labor market and consumer spending are improving."
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.3 percent and Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.3 percent.
In Kuala Lumpur, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index rose 0.4 percent in its 10th straight advance, which is the longest winning streak since August 1994. Markets in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and New Zealand are closed for public holidays.
U.S. payrolls
The Jakarta Composite Index climbed 1.6 percent, the most among benchmark indexes in the Asia-Pacific region, on speculation the nation's central bank will keep its benchmark interest rates at a record low tomorrow.
PT Astra International, the nation's most valuable company, increased 7.1 percent.
U.S. markets resume trading today after a holiday on April 2. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 0.4 percent after April 2 figures from the Labor Department showed U.S. payrolls rose for the third time in the past five months and the most since March 2007. The unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent.
"It's a good, solid report," Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. "It shows we're getting stronger."
Canon, Toyota
Canon, which gets 28 percent of its revenue in the Americas, climbed 2.4 percent to 4,505 yen. Toyota Motor Corp., which derives 31 percent of its revenue in North America, increased 1.1 percent to 3,815 yen.
Exporters in Japan advanced on optimism the weaker yen will boost the value of overseas sales when converted into the companies' home currency. The yen depreciated to as low as 94.79 per U.S. dollar today from 93.85 at the 3 p.m. close of stock trading on April 2.
"The yen may not continue to weaken, but the fear of strengthening currency is at least gone and that creates expectations for exporters' earnings," said Naoteru Teraoka, general manager at the investment management division of Tokyo- based Chuo Mitsui Asset Management Co., which oversees about US$23 billion.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1.7 percent last week as confidence in the global recovery boosted commodity prices.
Stocks in the MSCI measure trade at 16.5 times estimated earnings, compared with 15.1 times for the U.S. S&P 500 and 13.2 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Increased output
Data released by China's Federation of Logistics and Purchasing on April 1 showed that manufacturing activity, as measured by the Purchasing Managers' Index, expanded at a faster pace in March.
Separate data released by South Korea's government on the same day showed that exports in March increased more than economist estimates.
"There is increasing growth optimism now given that the job situation in the U.S. is getting a little more relaxed," said Roger Groebli, Singapore-based head of financial-market analysis at LG Capital Management, part of the group that oversees US$84 billion.
Kobe Steel surged 6.8 percent to 219 yen, the second- biggest advance on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "Overweight" from "equal weight." The company, Japan's fourth-largest mill, on April 2 said it obtained approval to build a US$1 billion plant in Vietnam.
Samsung Electronics gained 1.2 percent to 867,000 won after Maeil Business Newspaper reported the company will add a new semiconductor chip line at its factory in Hwaseong, South Korea.
Computer chips
The company, Asia's biggest chipmaker, also rose after the price of the benchmark DDR2 dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chip rose 1.7 percent to US$3.04 on April 2, ending a four- day decline, according to Dramexchange Technology Inc.
Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world's second-largest computer-memory chipmaker, gained 0.7 percent to 28,350 won.
Astra, Indonesia's biggest auto retailer, climbed 7.1 percent to 47,650 rupiah, set for a record close, on speculation low interest rates will boost demand for cars.
Bank Indonesia will keep its reference rate unchanged at 6.5 percent for an eighth straight month tomorrow, according to 16 of 17 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The measure is at the lowest level since it was introduced in July 2005.
"Astra benefits from low interest rates, as about 80 percent of domestic vehicle sales are funded by financing companies," said Handiman Soetoeyo, an analyst at PT FinanCorpindo Nusa, a Jakarta-based brokerage.
Fast retailing, Yamaha
Reliance Industries Ltd., India's biggest company by market value, rose 1.4 percent to 1,107.3 rupees. Nomura Holdings Inc. upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral."
Among stocks that declined today, Fast Retailing Co., Japan's largest clothier, slumped 10 percent to 14,980 yen, the biggest drop on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.
Domestic sales at Uniqlo stores open at least a year, slumped 16.4 percent in March from the same month in 2009, the company said in a statement on April 2.
Yamaha Motor Co., the world's No. 2 motorcycle maker, fell 9.2 percent to 1,269 yen, the second-biggest drop on MSCI's Asian gauge. The company plans to raise 76.1 billion (US$806 million) yen by selling new shares to fund research.


Updated : 2021-10-25 04:02 GMT+08:00