Asian Stock Markets End Higher; Nikkei Surges 1%

 
on October 31 2012 4:23 AM
Asian Stocks
A Tokyo Stock Exchange employee looks up at a monitor displaying market indices at the bourse in Tokyo. Reuters

Asian stock markets mostly advanced Wednesday as better news in Europe both on the earnings and the fiscal front along with South Korean industrial production data improved risk appetite.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei surged 0.98 percent or 86.31 points to 8928.29, Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.02 percent or 219.37 points to 21647.95 and South Korea's Seoul Composite gained 0.66 percent or 12.48 points to 1912.06, while Chinese Shanghai Composite advanced 0.32 percent and India’s BSE Sensex gained 0.24 percent.

Markets opened on a positive note, following the rally in the European equities overnight. European markets surged on Tuesday following favorable earnings surprises from banks and oil giant BP while slightly better-than-expected Spanish third quarter GDP data and a successful Italian bond auction also added to the sentiment.

“A well received Italian debt auction yesterday taken together with improved Spanish budget data and hopes of an end to the Greek political impasse needed before the country can receive its next loan tranche, have all contributed to a better tone to markets,” said a note from Credit Agricole.

Meanwhile, South Korean industrial production data and earnings reports from some regional companies also added to the sentiment. South Korea’s industrial output rose in September compared to that in the previous month, ending the period of contraction for the last three months, indicating that there is hope that the country’s economy is reviving in spite of the soft global demand.

Data released Wednesday by the Korea National Statistical Office showed that industrial output rose 0.8 percent in September, up from a 0.9 percent decrease in August on a seasonally adjusted basis. The industrial production declined 1.9 percent and 0.6 percent in July and June respectively.

"European markets had a nice bounce yesterday, so markets in Asia have really responded to the strong performance in Europe. It's difficult to say we are really in a 'risk on' period because people are really focused on company specific news rather than macroeconomic news. Asian markets have not yet recovered to highs in mid-October,” Guy Stear, head of research with Societe Generale in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

Japanese stocks surged, recovering from the sharp-sell off in the previous session as the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) expansion of its asset-buying program failed to ease concerns over economic growth in the world’s third largest economy.

The BoJ Tuesday eased monetary policy for the second time in two months as the slumping exports and industrial production raised worries that the world’s third largest economy might be slipping into a recession. As widely expected, the central bank maintained its key interest rate at a range of zero to 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote, but decided to loosen policy by expanding asset purchases by 11 trillion yen ($138.5 billion) to 91 trillion yen.

Among the stocks, Canon Inc. gained 1.50 percent and Sony Corp. surged 2.80 percent while Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. surged 6.68 percent after the company upgraded its annual operating profit estimate by 22 percent.  Komatsu Ltd. surged 3.21 percent after the company maintained its annual profits outlook even after reporting weak earnings in the first half.

In Hong Kong, China Coal Energy Co Ltd. advanced 2 percent and China Construction Bank Corp. gained 1.58 percent and New World Development Co while Aluminum Corp of China Ltd fell 1.78 percent.

Seoul shares advanced after industrial output data. SK Hynix Inc. gained 2.26 percent and Kun Wha Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. climbed 14.99 percent while Samsung electronics Co Ltd. rose 0.92 percent. 

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