Asian markets lifted by hopes for Fed stimulusBy Danny McCord
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HONG KONG—Asian markets mostly climbed Wednesday on hopes for a fresh stimulus drive by the US Federal Reserve to kick-start its economy while G20 leaders pledged to “restore confidence” in world finances.
European heads at the G20 summit in Mexico also vowed to begin looking at a region-wide banking union as they attempted to soothe investor concerns over the debt-riddled eurozone.
Tokyo rose 1.11 percent, adding 96.44 points to end at 8,752.31, Seoul climbed 0.65 percent, or 12.35 points, to 1,904.12 and Sydney closed 0.22 percent, or 9.1 points, higher at 4,132.4.
Hong Kong ended 0.53 percent higher, adding 102.18 points to 19,518.85 but Shanghai was off 0.34 percent, or 7.92 points, at 2,292.88.
All eyes were on Washington, where the Fed will wrap up a two-day meeting that many expect to end with a fresh injection of capital to shore up the sputtering US economic recovery as jobs growth slows.
Some economists say policymakers could start a third round of asset purchases known as quantitative easing (QE3) or use other tools at their disposal.
“Hopes for more easing are certainly a factor stoking enthusiasm for equities globally,” Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
And Wee-Khoon Chong, Asia rates strategist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong, said: “Expectations are now running at full steam, so (policymakers) have to deliver now.”
In European trade, the dollar was trading at 78.94 yen, from 78.89 yen in New York late Tuesday.
On Wall Street the Dow rose 0.75 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.98 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.19 percent.
In the Mexican resort of Los Cabos, European leaders scrambled to buy themselves time in the battle to save the eurozone, promising their G20 partners they would integrate their banking sector and restart growth.
In a joint communique the heads of the 20 biggest developed and developing economies pledged to “take the necessary actions to strengthen global growth and restore confidence.”
The heads of Europe’s major economies agreed “to consider concrete steps towards a more integrated financial architecture, encompassing banking supervision, resolution and recapitalization, and deposit insurance.”
The leaders said eurozone members will “take all necessary measures” to stabilize the single currency, including moves to break the loop that has weak governments piling on more and more debt to bail out their banks.
The meeting looked to calm markets that have been rattled by Europe’s struggling banking system, especially that of Spain, which this month was promised up to $125 billion to help troubled lenders.
Looking ahead to next week’s European summit, when a more concrete action plan is expected to emerge, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said: “In Los Cabos the seeds of a pan-European recovery plan were planted.”
The summit took place against a backdrop of soaring borrowing costs for Madrid, which saw the yield on its 10-year bonds hit a record 7.13 percent Monday – a level considered unsustainable – although they eased to 6.87 percent early Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, Spain’s Treasury succeeded in raising 3.04 billion euros ($3.8 billion) at a bond auction, beating its 2.0-3.0-billion-euro target for 12- and 18-month notes.
Although it still had to pay sky-high rates – 5.074 percent for 12-month debt and 5.107 percent for 18-month debt – the result was seen as a moderate success.
On currency markets in European trade, the euro edged up to $1.2705 from $1.2688 late Tuesday while also rising to 100.30 yen from 100.16 yen.
On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, fell 17 cents to $83.86 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for August shed 62 cents to $95.14.
Gold was $1,606.90 an ounce at 1215 GMT, compared with $1,630.77 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
– Singapore closed up 0.47 percent, or 13.27 points, to 2,855.68.
DBS Group added 1.10 percent to 13.77 and Wilmar International gained 4.23 percent to 3.70.
– Taipei rose 0.85 percent, or 61.50 points, to 7,334.63.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 1.37 percent to Tw$81.6 while Chunghwa Telecom was 0.66 percent higher at Tw$91.5.
– Manila rose 1.28 percent, or 64.85 points, to close at 5,146.46.
Megaworld rose 3.0 percent to 2.08 pesos and Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 1.1 percent to close at 90.85 pesos.
– Wellington fell 1.02 percent, or 35.59 points, to 3,444.79.
Fletcher Building shed 1.6 percent to NZ$6.21, Telecom fell 2.2 percent to NZ$2.48 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dived 6.2 percent to NZ$1.97.
– Kuala Lumpur ended 0.59 percent, or 9.41 points, higher at 1,604.39.
Plantation giant Sime Darby added 0.20 percent to 9.87 ringgit, while telecoms firm Axiata Group gained 0.74 percent to 5.46. Budget carrier AirAsia lost 1.89 percent to 3.63 ringgit.
– Jakarta rose 1.63 percent, or 63.08 points, to 3,943.90.
Telkom jumped 5.3 percent to 8,000 rupiah, nickel and gold miner Antam rose 4.5 percent to 1,390 rupiah and cement company Indocement gained 0.59 percent to 17,150 rupiah.
– Bangkok closed almost unchanged, edging up 0.15 points to 1,173.24.
Oil giant PTT fell 0.90 percent to 332 baht, while energy firm Banpu edged down 0.85 percent to 464 baht.
– Mumbai edged up 0.22 percent, or 36.83 points, to 16,896.63.
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