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Asian stocks rise on improved U.S., Europe confidence: report

Asian stocks rise on improved U.S., Europe confidence: report

Asian stock markets edged higher yesterday, buoyed by greater confidence in the U.S. and Europe.
Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed up 0.82 percent, or 73.79 points, at 9,098.39, led by trading companies such as Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, as well as exporters including Canon and Mazda. The Topix index of first-section shares was up 0.71 percent.
Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.99 percent, or 45 points, at 4,582.2 and Seoul’s Kospi index ended up 0.29 percent, or 5.14 points, at 1,784.36. Manila surged 2.57 percent, or 97.83 points, to a record high of 3,902.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.42 percent in the afternoon, although Shanghai fell 1.32 percent amid fears of further measures to rein in the property market and tighten banking regulation.
Markets were lifted by a rise on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book showed the US economy continued growing from mid-July to the end of August, albeit “with widespread signs of a deceleration.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.45 percent, the broader S&P 500 index 0.64 percent and the Nasdaq 0.90 percent.
Improved sentiment in Europe also helped after a successful sovereign bond issue by debt-saddled Portugal.
Despite recent US jitters, “there continues to be this sense of relief that the (US) economy doesn’t appear to be heading back into recession -- at least not right away,” David Taylor, a market analyst at CMC Markets, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“This, combined with more tax cuts and infrastructure spending plans by the Obama administration, (put) traders in the mood to buy up..”
However, Tokyo’s gains were limited by persistent concerns about the strength of the yen.
The Japanese currency was trading at 83.75 yen to the dollar, up from 83.92 in New York on Wednesday, having touched a 15-year high of 83.33 in Tokyo on Wednesday. The yen was at 106.28 to the euro, up from 106.73, while the euro dropped to US$1.2695 from US$1.2718 in New York. Elsewhere the Singapore dollar rose to a record high against the greenback, briefly trading at a new peak of 1.3407 to the US currency, suggesting increased investor risk appetite. Australian shares were lifted by data showing unemployment had fallen 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent in August, beating expectations, although this raised the chances of an interest rate hike as soon as next month.
The stock market rise came despite regulators rejecting National Australia Bank’s US$12.2 billion bid for financial services firm AXA Asia Pacific due to competition concerns. AXA Asia Pacific closed down 6.62 percent. Traders in Seoul brushed off a decision by South Korea’s central bank to leave interest rates unchanged for a second straight month, amid heightened uncertainty about the global economy.
Contrary to market expectations, Bank of Korea governor Kim Choong-Soo and fellow policymakers froze the seven-day repo rate at 2.25 percent.
The strong performance of the Philippine stock market, which rose for an eighth straight session for an overall gain of 9.67 percent, was due to growing confidence in the nation’s economy, which is helping to draw foreign capital.
Investors will be watching for the Department of Energy’s weekly report due out later yesterday for further clues on US oil demand.


Updated : 2021-04-21 10:56 GMT+08:00