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Asian markets rise on upbeat US data

October 17, 2012

HONG KONG, Oct 16: Asian markets rose on Tuesday in response to a strong showing on Wall Street after another round of upbeat data raised hopes for the US economy.

But dealers also remained hesitant before the release this week of Chinese third-quarter growth figures, as evidence accumulates of a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.

In Japan, telecoms giant Softbank surged by more than 10 per cent, clawing back some of its huge losses in the previous two sessions, after formally announcing it will buy the US wireless provider Nextel Sprint for $20 billion.

Tokyo rose 1.44 per cent, or 123.38 points, to 8,701.31, Sydney gained 0.18 per cent, or 8.1 points, to 4,491.5 and Seoul climbed 0.83 per cent, or 15.95 points, to 1,941.54.

Hong Kong advanced 0.28 per cent, or 58.82 points, to 21,207.07 and Shanghai was flat, giving up earlier gains to finish 0.11 points up at 2,098.81. Trading started positively with the news out of Washington that retail sales, the main driver of the US economy, had unexpectedly risen 1.1 per cent in September.

The Commerce Department also revised up retail sales for July and August, and said that even excluding volatile data on vehicles and petrol, sales were still up 0.9 per cent last month. Helping the mood on Wall Street, banking giant Citigroup reported an 88 per cent drop in third-quarter profit, not as bad as had been forecast.

The Dow gained 0.72 per cent, its biggest jump in more than a month, while the S&P 500 rose 0.81 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.66 per cent.

On currency markets, the euro was trading higher thanks to an improved appetite for risk. In morning European trade it was buying $1.3990, up from $1.2950 late on Monday in New York, while it rose to 102.44 yen from 101.89 yen. The dollar stood at 78.87 yen, up slightly from 78.66 in New York.

The main focus of interest this week is on China, which will release on Thursday its growth figures for July-September, with many hoping for an improvement on recent data that has shown a marked slowdown. Hopes were given a boost at the weekend by trade figures that showed China’s exports surged almost 10 per cent last month.

In other markets: Singapore closed up 0.12 per cent, or 3.76 points, at 3,046.81. Jardine Cycle and Carriage fell 0.06 per cent to Sg$50.27 while Keppel Corp. gained 0.27 per cent to Sg$11.25.

Taipei rose 0.70 per cent, or 52.12 points, to 7,471.02. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 1.27 per cent to Tw$87.5 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.11 per cent higher at Tw$87.6.

Manila ended 0.31 per cent higher, adding 16.72 points to 5,399.94.

Wellington gained 0.62 per cent, or 24.33 points, to 3,940.70. Fletcher Building was up 2.17 per cent at NZ$7.52, Chorus gained 2.08 per cent to NZ$3.43 and Telecom put on 0.84 per cent to close at NZ$2.40.

Kuala Lumpur ended flat, nudging down 0.92 points to 1,653.52. Maxis fell 1.7 per cent to 6.85 ringgit, CIMB Group shed 1.4 per cent to 7.55 ringgit and Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering eased 1.0 per cent to 5.00 ringgit.

Jakarta added 0.36 per cent, or 15.55 points, to 4,329.08. Astra was up 2.6 per cent at 8,050 rupiah and Telkom rose 2.6 per cent to 9,850 rupiah.

Bangkok eased 0.24 per cent, or 3.07 points, to 1,287.49.

Mumbai fell 0.73 per cent, or 135.85 points, to 18,577.70. Tata Motors fell 2.62 per cent to 262.3 rupees while Reliance Industries lost 1.21 per cent to 813.25 rupees. —AFP