Asian markets rebound, Shanghai leads gains

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A man checks his cell phone outside a securities firm in Tokyo on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Asian markets climbed Tuesday following a big sell-off in the previous session, with Shanghai leading the rebound as China’s annual parliamentary gathering kicked off. AP PHOTO/JUNJI KUROKAWA

HONG KONG—Asian markets climbed Tuesday following a big sell-off in the previous session, with Shanghai leading the rebound as China’s annual parliamentary gathering kicked off.

 

Traders also took heart from a rally on Wall Street that saw the Dow close within sight of a record high.

 

Tokyo added 0.27 percent, or 31.16 points, to 11,683.45 and Seoul advanced 0.17 percent, or 3.46 points, to 2,016.61, while Sydney jumped 1.29 percent, or 64.9 points, to close at 5,075.4.

 

Hong Kong rose 0.10 percent, or 22.69 points, to 22,560.50.

 

Shanghai jumped 2.33 percent, or 52.91 points, to 2,326.31, reversing some of the 3.65 percent dive on Monday when property and construction stocks were hit after the government set out rules aimed at capping house prices.

 

But eyes were on China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), which opened Tuesday with outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao saying the government would target growth of 7.5 percent for the world’s No. 2 economy in 2013 and 3.5 percent inflation.

 

“We should energetically change the growth model,” Wen said in his final major act after a decade amid demands that China revamp its investment and export-led growth in favour of domestic spending.

 

A separate government document laid down a 10.7 percent rise in defense spending to 720.2 billion yuan ($115.7 billion) in 2013.

 

The NPC is meeting for nearly two weeks in Beijing and will seal a power transfer to Li Keqiang as Wen’s successor, and Communist Party supremo Xi Jinping as state president.

 

Regional investors also cheered a positive lead from New York, where the Dow rose 0.27 percent to 14,127.82, within 40 points of an all-time high seen in October 2007.

 

Remarks from the Federal Reserve’s No. 2 official reaffirming its aggressive stimulus policy provided support to US shares.

 

Janet Yellen, vice chairperson of the Fed board of governors, said in a speech that the central bank intends to “keep monetary policy highly accommodative until well into the recovery.”

 

The S&P 500 gained 0.46 percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.39 percent.

 

Traders also appeared to shrug off the lack of action in Washington on dealing with the “sequester” of US federal spending cuts that came into effect on Friday and which could shave around 0.5 percentage points off growth.

 

Analysts said the effect of the $85 billion in cuts would not be seen yet, giving politicians a little time to agree a less stringent budget that would help slash the country’s deficit.

 

On currency markets the dollar bought 93.14 yen in afternoon trade against 93.46 yen in New York late Monday.

 

The euro fetched 121.56 yen and $1.3053 compared with 121.74 yen and $1.3024.

 

The yen saw slight gains despite promises of further monetary easing from the men tapped by the government to take the helm at the Bank of Japan.

 

Sydney shares showed little reaction to widely expected news that the Reserve Bank of Australia had kept interest rates on hold at 3.0 percent, saying the downside risks to the world economy appeared to have eased slightly.

 

Oil prices rebounded from big losses late Monday.

 

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in April, added 20 cents to $90.32 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for April delivery increased 46 cents to $110.55.

 

Gold was at $1,583.02 at 1125 GMT compared with $1,577.65 late Monday.

 

In other markets:

 

— Taipei rose 0.83 percent, or 65.37 points, to 7,932.71.

 

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. added 1.96 percent to Tw$104.0 while chip design house MediaTek was 1.76 percent higher at Tw$347.5.

 

— Manila rose 1.12 percent, or 74.16 points, to 6,711.72.

 

Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 2.26 percent to 2,986 pesos, BDO Unibank added 1.05 percent to 96 pesos, while Energy Development Corp. jumped 2.05 percent to 6.48 pesos.

 

— Wellington rose 0.37 percent, or 15.56 points, to 4,269.16.

 

Fletcher Building was up 1.33 percent at NZ$9.17, Contact Energy gained 0.38 percent to NZ$5.35 and Telecom was off 1.08 percent at NZ$2.30.

 

— Singapore rose 0.26 percent, or 8.31 points, to close 3,248.26.

 

Singapore Telecom increased 0.58 percent to Sg$3.46 and DBS Bank gained 1.27 percent to Sg$15.17.

 

— Jakarta slipped 0.20 percent, or 9.76 points, to 4,751.70.

 

Palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari lost 1.06 percent to 18,600 rupiah, telecommunications provider Indosat fell 0.76 percent to 6,550 rupiah, and Hero Supermarket lost 0.99 percent to 5,000 rupiah.

 

— Bangkok added 0.56 percent, or 8.59 points, to 1,549.31.

 

Supermarket operator Siam Makro jumped 3.72 percent to 502 baht, while Bangkok Life Assurance rose 3.60 percent to 72 baht.

 

— Kuala Lumpur shares gained 0.37 percent, or 6.10 points, to 1,642.08.

 

UEM Land Holdings added 3.6 percent to 2.59 ringgit, while Axiata Group increased 0.2 percent to 6.39. CIMB Group Holdings fell 0.1 percent to 7.19 ringgit.

 

— Mumbai rose 1.40 percent, or 265.21 points, to 19,143.17 points.

 

Sterlite, the Indian arm of global resources Vedenta group, rose 4.47 percent to 94.65 rupees. Private explorer Essar Oil rose 20.96 percent to 88.0 rupees.

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