Stocks in Australia, China, South Korea, Singapore hit records
HONG KONG - Asian markets rallied Wednesday, tracking Wall Street’s overnight gains, as Japanese stocks rose robustly for a second session and Hong Kong shares ended at a five-week high.
Markets in Australia, China, Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea all hit record highs _ just five weeks after regional markets tumbled in the wake of a plunge in Chinese shares.
Lower crude oil prices also buoyed sentiment across the region.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 300.04 points, or 1.74 percent, to finish at 17,544.09 points, after rising 1.27 percent Tuesday.
Technology, auto and electronics shares advanced. Gainers included Tokyo Electron Ltd., which rose 1.68 percent to 8,470 yen (US$71.18), Nissan Motor Co., which climbed 1.90 percent to 1,289 yen (US$10.83), and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which posted a 2.07 percent gain to 2,465 yen (US$20.71).
Banking issues also gained ground, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. adding 1.47 percent to 1.38 million yen (US$11,596.63).
Market players, however, may now focus on locking in profits made in the past two sessions for the rest of this week.
Investors will need to confirm (solid earnings for this year) in earnings reports that will be released from late April’ in order to boost their buying, said Teruhisa Ishikawa, manager at Mizuho Investors Securities.
In New York Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to 12,439.92, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index also rose 0.5 percent.
In Hong Kong, the blue chip Hang Seng Index rose 207.01 points, or 1.03 percent, to 20,209.71.
Property developers led the gains, on expectations of strong residential property sales over the coming five-day holiday, analysts said. Investors were likely buying on robust March property transactions, which rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier, they said.
Blue-chip property developer Hang Lung Properties rose 3.6 percent to HK$23.05, while Sino Land ended 3.1 percent higher to HK$18.02. Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. rose 2.3 percent to HK$104.80 and Henderson Land Development Co. added 2.8 percent to HK$47.35.
Airlines also rose sharply, boosted by lower oil prices, which fell US$1.30 to US$$64.64 in overnight US trading and even further in Asian trading Wednesday.
Cathay Pacific Airways rose 2 percent to HK$20.45, while China Southern Airlines gained 3.7 percent at HK$3.69.
In currency dealings, the US dollar was trading at 118.91 yen mid-Wednesday, up from 118.88 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3338 from US$1.3331.
BANGKOK: Thai shares rose 1 percent to 693.54, advancing for the fifth consecutive day to their highest closest level in five weeks, boosted by buying in banking blue chips amid regional gains.
JAKARTA: Indonesian shares added 1.4 percent at a fresh record high of 1,922.05, on capital inflows ahead of expected Bank Indonesia rate cut Thursday.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s key stock index rose 1.2 percent on buying spurred by Wall Street’s strong gains overnight. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index of 100 blue chips climbed to 1,271.31 points.
SEOUL: South Korean shares rose to a record, led by Samsung Electronics Co., Korea Electric Power and shipbuilders. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 19.66 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,483.86, the highest since Feb. 26.
SHANGHAI: Chinese stocks posted a record close, buoyed by gains in port operators and power producers, although profit-taking in some heavyweights capped the market’s rise. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed at a record 3,291.54, up only 0.01 percent.
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s shares rallied to close at a new record high, with investors snapping up market heavyweights like Singapore Telecommunications after Wall Street rose strongly and oil prices eased overnight. The benchmark Straits Times Index climbed 44.56 points, or 1.4 percent, to 3,332.92.
SYDNEY: Australian stocks hit record highs Wednesday, boosted by a strong lead from United States markets, takeover activity and the central bank’s decision not to lift interest rates. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 83.8 points, or 1.4 per cent, to a record close of 6.097.2, surpassing the previous record finish of 6,036.1 set on Feb. 23.
TAIPEI: Taiwan shares rose to its highest in 6 1/2 years, helped by strong overnight gains on Wall Street. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange gained 71.70 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 8,004.61 points, the highest since August 2000.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand stocks coasted to a third straight higher finish and traders expect the local bourse to hold recent gains going into the Easter break. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 12.7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,187.98.