RTTNews - The markets across the Asia-pacific region snapped the losing trend and ended in positive territory, following better than expected economic data in the U.S, raising hopes that the worst for the economy might be nearing end.
In the U.S., stocks finished in the green snapping the three-day losses as traders reacted to some better-than-expected economic data that raised hopes of recovery.
A report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve revealed that its index of activity in the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic region rose to a negative 2.2 in June from a negative 22.6 in May, sharply higher than the modest increase of negative 17.0 expected by the economists.
Separately, a report from the Conference Board showed that its leading indicators index rose 1.2% in May following an upwardly revised 1.1% increase in April. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.0%.
While employment data from the Labor Department showed an increase in weekly jobless claims to 608,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000, some optimism was generated by a drop in continuing claims, which fell by 148,000 in the week ended June 6th to 6.687 million.
The Dow closed up 58.42 points or 0.7% at 8,556 and the S&P 500 closed up 7.66 points or 0.8% at 918. However, the Nasdaq closed down flat at 1,808, with a loss of 0.34 points or 0.02%
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher at 9,758 compared to its previous close of 9,704, and continued to rise above the 9,800-mark on optimism about a global recovery. However, profit taking in the afternoon session ahead of the weekend trimmed the gains. The index finally closed at 9,786, representing a gain of 82.54 points or 0.85%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues ended at 919, up 7.76 points or 0.85%.
Crude oil prices ended with a gain of 23 cents at $71.61 a barrel in Asian trading. Light sweet crude oil finished at $71.37, up $0.34, on Thursday in New York, amid choppy trading.
On the economic front, a report released by the Japan Department Store Association showed that sales at nationwide department stores declined for the fifteenth straight month during May by 12.3% year-on-year, marginally higher than the 11.3% drop reported for April 2009.
Banks led the advances after Goldman Sachs stated in a report that stocks in the sector are undervalued and recommended the sector. Mitsubishi UFJ Corp. gained 4.05%, Mizuho Financial advanced 3.73%, Resona Holdings added 3.13% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 4.08%.
Memory chip maker Elpida Memory advanced 3.27% following reports that the company might approach the Government for financial assistance.
In the shipping space, Kawasaki Kisen gained 3.39% after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to equal weight from under weight.
In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened higher at 3,894 compared to its previous close at 3,892, and movedup further on hopes of a global recovery. The index held above the unchanged line throughout the session before ending at 3,894, representing a gain of 7.00 points, or 0.18%. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended higher at 3,900 with a gain of 7.50 points or 0.20%.
Financials ended in positive territory on recovery hopes. ANZ Bank gained 1.22%, Commonwealth Bank added 1.13%, National Australia Bank edged up 0.23% and Westpac Banking Corp. rose 1.00%.
Among oil stocks, Santos gained 1.22% after brokerage UBS upgraded its recommendation to buy from neutral and also raised the price target. Woodside Petroleum gained 2.74%. However, Oil Search Ltd bucked the trend and ended down by 2.99%.
Energy services provider Worley Parsons gained 4.96% following the news that the company had bagged two contracts to build nuclear plants in Egypt and Armenia.
In resource space, BHP Billiton ended unchanged from previous close. Rio Tinto shed 3.43%.
Mixed trading was witnessed among gold stocks. While Lihir Gold edged down 0.35%, New Crest Mining advanced 1.24%. Sino Gold, however, remained unchanged from previous close.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened sharply higher at at 17,936 compared to its previous close of 17,777, taking cues from Wall Street, where better-than-expected economic data helped indices end in green. Concerns about the valuations and upcoming earnings limited the upside and the market finally ended with a gain of 144 points, or 0.81%, at 17,921.
Banks advanced following buying interest at lower levels. BOC Hong Kong gained 1.53%, Bank of Communications edged up 0.40%, ICBC advanced 1.12% and China Commercial Bank surged 3.79%.
PetroChina edged up 0.36% and CNOOC, the largest offshore oil company in China, added 0.52%. Oil refiner Sinopec Corp gained 2.54% on higher crude oil prices.
In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in the green mirroring Wall Street gains on optimism about global recovery. The market opened strongly higher at 1,387 compared to its previous close at 1,376 on positive Wall Street cues. Valuation concerns dragged the index below the unchanged line briefly but bargain hunting at lower levels helped the market close in the green. The index ended at 1,383, representing a gain of 7.58 points, or 0.55%.
Financial stocks ended in positive territory. Woori Finance gained 1.95%, Shinhan Financial Group advanced 2.53% and KB Financial Group rose 1.65%.
Steelmakers ended mixed. While industry leader POSCO gained 0.85%, Hyundai Steel edged down 0.34%.
Technology stocks also ended mixed. While Samsung Electronics, the leading computer memory-chip maker, fell 0.53%, Hynix Semiconductor gained 1.15%.
In India, the stock market recovered from early blues and ended in the green on positive global cues and pre-budget announcements. .
The BSE Sensex gained 256.36 points, or 1.80%, to close at 14,522, and the broader Nifty index rose 62.20 points, or 1.46% to close at 4,314.
Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 26.59 points, or 0.93% to close at 2,880, Strait Times Index in Singapore rose 35.98 points or 1.61% to close at 2,273, Taiwan Weighted Index added 86.62 points, or 1.41% to close at 6,231, and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index, advanced 39.49 points, or 2.02% to close at 1,990.
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