Weekly Roundup: Asian Stocks Rise Amid Greece Deal

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An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei, Anhui province Feb. 20, 2012.

Most of the Asian markets rose in the week as investor sentiment was lifted after the euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund reached a deal on financing the next tranche of the bailout package to Greece.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent and closed at 22030.39. China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2 percent and closed at 1980.12.

At its meeting in Brussels Monday, the Eurogroup agreed on a debt reduction of 40 billion euros for Greece. Accordingly, the country will receive 44 billion euros ($57 billion) commencing Dec 13.

On the economic front, report on the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in better than expected. According to the report released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Thursday, the second estimate of the third quarter GDP showed that the economy expanded 2.7 percent in that period, an upward revision from the 2.0 percent gain the department initially reported last month.

Investor sentiment was also supported by optimism on avoiding the fiscal cliff. Market players expected that President Barack Obama and the congressional leaders were making advances towards reaching an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.9 percent and closed at 9446.01.  South Korea's Kospi Index rose 1.1 percent and closed at 1932.90.

Japan’s industrial output rose in October over the previous month, which could give the much needed support to the faltering economy.

According to the data released Friday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s industrial production, which measures the total inflation-adjusted value of output from manufacturers, mines, and utilities, rose 1.8 percent in October compared to that in September while it declined 4.1 percent in September. Analysts had expected a decrease of 2.2 percent.

However, Japan’s manufacturing activity contracted to a 19-month low in November, increasing the concerns about a slowdown.

According to the data released by Markit/JMMA Friday, the headline Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 46.5 in November, down from 46.9 in October. Any number below 50 indicates an economic contraction. The continued shrinking of the manufacturing activity would increase the likelihood of a sharp contraction in the economy.

Japan reported earlier this week that retail sales fell in October compared to those in the same month last year. The data released Thursday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan’s retail sales, which measure the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level, fell 1.2 percent in October from those in the same month a year earlier, down from a 0.4 percent rise in September.

India's BSE Sensex was up 4.5 percent and closed at 19339.90. 

The Sensex climbed as investor confidence was lifted following the reaffirmation by Moody’s that India’s rating outlook was stable.

Market sentiment was also lifted as Goldman Sachs upgraded the Indian stocks to an "overweight" rating from a "market weight" rating citing a recovery in growth, a decline in inflation and the potential for continued policy reforms.

Meanwhile, according to the data released Friday by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, India’s GDP rose 5.3 percent in the quarter ending September compared to that in the same period the earlier year, down from 5.5 percent in the previous quarter. The fall in economic growth raised investors’ hope that the Reserve Bank of India would announce a monetary easing policy soon.  

Major gainers: Shares of Nippon Sheet Glass advanced 7 percent. Shares of Hitachi rose 5.1 percent and those of Li & Fung Ltd gained 2.9 percent. 

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