Asian stock markets advanced Wednesday as better-than-expected quarterly earnings from U.S. blue chips and hopes of an imminent Spanish request for financial aid added to the positive sentiment.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei surged 1.21 percent or 105.24 points to 8806.55, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.99 percent or 209.57 points to 21416.64 and Chinese Shanghai Composite rose 0.32 percent while South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.70 percent or 13.61 points to 1955.15 and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.15 percent.
Markets opened on a strong note, following the overnight gains from the Wall Street, as stronger-than-forecast earnings from major companies like Johnson & Johnson, United Health Group and Goldman Sachs and speculation that Spain is close to requesting aid lifted sentiment.
Quarterly earnings from Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth Group outpaced expectations and both companies raised their full-year earnings outlook while Goldman Sachs increased its quarterly dividend after it turned to profit in the third quarter.
Speculation that Spain is getting closer to requesting a bailout from the ECB also lifted market sentiment. Reports suggested Spain is considering requesting a direct line of credit, rather than seeking immediate aid from the European Stability Mechanism rescue fund. Also German resistance to a full Spanish aid appears to be weakening as the door opens wider to a formal request by Spain for a credit line.
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Sentiment was further supported by better than expected business expectations survey in the industrial output for Germany and the U.S. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report on Tuesday showed that Industrial production rose 0.4 percent in September from a revised 1.4 percent drop in August. The German ZEW economic sentiment index improved for the second straight month to -11.5 in October from -18.2 in the previous month.
“Market sentiment improved on hopes for a precautionary credit line for Spain as well as a better than expected business expectations survey in Germany and US industrial output. Investors are hoping that policy makers around the world will succeed in reducing market risks and gradually turning the global economy around,” said a note from Credit Agricole.
Meanwhile, investors opted for caution ahead of the Chinese third-quarter economic activity data, which will be released Thursday along with the retail and industrial production figures. The GDP data is expected to show that the world's second largest economy’s growth slowed for a seventh straight quarter to the weakest level in more than three years.
Japanese stocks surged, led by gains from technology and exporter companies on a weaker yen. Canon Inc. gained 0.87 percent and Toshiba Corp. advanced 1.84 percent while Panasonic Corp. surged 2.23 percent.
Nomura Holdings Inc. surged 3.27 percent and Softbank Corp. climbed 5.63 percent while Suzuki Motor Corp. gained 1.79 percent following the release of a new version of its Alto car through a joint venture with Maruti in India.
In Hong Kong, COSCO Pacific Ltd surged 5.82 percent and HSBC Holdings Plc gained 1.99 percent while Li Ning Co Ltd. plunged 4.14 percent.
In Seoul, SK Hynix Inc. gained 2.84 percent and SK Innovation Co Ltd. surged 3.25 percent while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. rose 0.45 percent.