Asian markets rise, with S Korean and Chinese stocks hitting new highs
HONG KONG - Most Asian markets rose Monday, helped by gains last week on Wall Street. Stocks in South Korea and mainland China hit new record highs, while the region’s biggest bourse in Japan closed flat as investors waited for a slew of earnings reports.
Chinese shares recovered from last week’s plunge that sparked a sell-off across Asia. The rebound was partly inspired by anticipation of the launch of stock index futures. Over the weekend, China’s securities regulator detailed rules for the new business.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 3.5 percent to a record high 3,710.89. The Shenzhen Composite Index jumped 3.9 percent to 1,042.82, also a record high.
China United Telecommunications surged 6.4 percent Monday to 5.82 yuan, while Air China rose 9.1 percent to 9.73 yuan and Baoshan Iron & Steel gained 5.4 percent to 11.30 yuan.
In South Korea, shares inched up to a new high, led by machinery stocks and Posco _ the world’s third-largest steelmaker. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, rose 11.27 points, or 0.7 percent, to finish at 1,544.35.
Posco closed 3.6 percent higher at 387,500 won, while heavy equipment maker Doosan Infracore Co. surged 5.7 percent to 29,500 won after US counterpart Caterpillar raised its 2007 earnings guidance.
But it was a lackter day in Japan, where the benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 2.75 points, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 17,455.37 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Many investors stayed on the sidelines, waiting for a bunch of corporate earnings reports to be released later this week. Those releasing numbers include Honda Motor Co. and Sharp Corp.
Gainers included Toyota Motor Corp., which rose 0.41 percent to 7,410 yen, and Komatsu Ltd., which climbed 4.83 percent to 2,715 yen.
Losers included brokerage shares like Nomura Holdings Inc., which fell 1.86 percent to 2,370 yen (US$20.08).
In currency dealings, the US dollar was trading at 118.33 yen Monday afternoon, down from 118.74 yen late Friday in NEw York. The euro fell to US$1.3584 from US$1.3637.
BANGKOK: Thai shares closed 0.2 percent lower at 686.18 in moderate trade amid no fresh news and lingering concerns about the Thai political situation.
HONG KONG: Shres dipped as investors sold China Mobile after it reported disappointing first-quarter results. The blue chip Hang Seng Index fell 10.02 points, or 0.05 percent, to 20,556.57.
JAKARTA: Indonesian shares rose to a record high boosted by steady rupiah and gains across Asian markets. The Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite index closed 17.996 points, or 0.9 percent higher, at 1,986.727.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s benchmark stock index climbed as investors took cues from gains in US and Asian bourses. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index of 100 blue chips added 0.5 percent to 1,321.36 points.
MANILA: Philippine shares advanced to their highest level in two months, taking a cue from a surge on Wall Street. The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index gained 64.25 points, or 1.9 percent, at 3,319.01.
SHANGHAI: Chinese shares rose to an all-time high, as large-capital shares were buoyed by anticipation of the launch of stock index futures. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 3.5 percent to a record-high 3,710.89. The Shenzhen Composite Index jumped 3.9 percent to 1,042.82, also a record high.
SINGAPORE: Expectations of better earnings reports this week and gains on Wall Street last week buoyed Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index to a higher close. The STI gained 27.81 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 3388.48.
SYDNEY: Australia’s share market ended flat, with many investors still on the sidelines ahead of key inflation data to be issued early Tuesday. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.7 points to 6,209.2 on light volume after falling as low as 6,165.6.
TAIPEI: Taiwan shares rose in line with rallies in Wall Street and regional markets. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose 67.79 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 8010.46 points in light volume.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand stocks got off to a good start to the week following positive leads from offshore markets, including Wall Street. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 18.74 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,201.64.