Asian stock markets advanced Thursday as the weak Chinese industrial profits raised hopes that the government could launch fresh measures to support growth in the world’s second largest economy.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei gained 0.48 percent or 43.17 points to 8949.87, Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.07 percent or 219.58 points to 20747.31 and Chinese Shanghai Composite climbed 2.60 percent or 52.15 points to 2056.32 while Indian benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.36 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite rose 0.42 percent.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics Thursday showed that the net income of Chinese industrial companies continued to decline for the fifth month in August. Profits slumped 6.2 percent to 381.2 billion yuan ($60.4 billion) in August compared to that in the previous year. Corporate profits is not a first-tier data item but still mirrors the nation’s weakening economy and suggests that stimulus measures are urgently needed to support growth.
However, the renewed concerns over the euro zone debt crisis continue to limit the upward movement. Market participants will likely focus on Spain ahead of the government's budget announcement along with economic reforms that may include austerity measures to reduce the country's debt burden and ward off the need for a full-scale bailout.
The Spanish government will present its 2013 budget Thursday, aiming to cut the country's deficit down to 4.5 percent of GDP next year. Spanish 10-year bond yields rose back above 6 percent Wednesday after the Bank of Spain said that the euro zone’s fourth largest economy continued to contract at a significant rate in the third quarter of the year and on news that violent anti-austerity protests have erupted in Madrid.
Chinese shares rallied, led by gains from financials on news that the central bank conducted the largest weekly injection in history this week to prevent the potential short-term liquidity crunch at commercial banks.
“The PBoC conducted the final round of reverse repo ahead of the golden week, injecting another 130 billion yuan to ease liquidity. This week has seen a net injection of 365 billion yuan into the banking system, almost equivalent to a 50 bp RRR cut in terms of magnitude, but of course on a temporary basis,” said a note from Credit Agricole.
China Construction Bank Corp. surged 2.08 percent and China Merchants Bank Co Ltd. climbed 3.38 percent while Sinolink Securities Co Ltd. rallied 10.03 percent.
Property and financials went up in Hong Kong. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. gained 1.43 percent and Guangdong Investment Ltd. surged 3.45 percent while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. rose 2.03 percent.
Japanese automakers recovered after a plunge in the previous session. Suzuki Motor Corp. rose 1.38 percent and Toyota Motor Corp advanced 0.48 percent while Sharp Corp. slumped 3.86 percent.