Asian markets mostly up, Tokyo extends gains
HONG KONG—Asian markets were mostly higher on Wednesday, with Tokyo supported by the weak yen, while Shanghai slipped following a rare trade deficit for China in March.
On Wall Street the Dow index provided support as it climbed to yet another record on hopes for the US economy and optimism about the January-March earnings season that started this week.
Tokyo rose 0.73 percent, or 95.78 points, to 13,288.13, while Seoul gained 0.77 percent, or 14.84 points, to 1,935.58 but Sydney was 0.18 percent lower, giving up 8.8 points to 4,968.0.
Hong Kong rose 0.75 percent, or 164.22 points, to end at 22,034.56, while Shanghai was flat, edging up 0.35 points to 2,226.13.
China’s customs agency said Wednesday exports climbed a below-forecast 10.0 percent last month, and imports jumped a bigger-than-expected 14.1 percent, while the country saw a trade deficit of $880 million. Economists had tipped a surplus of $14.7 billion.
The news comes a day after officials said inflation had come in below estimates, which analysts said indicated ongoing weakness in the world’s No. 2 economy, still struggling to recover from slower growth last year.
Dongxing Securities analyst Sun Zheng said the data showed “external demand still remains weak, which is widely known to the market.”
But he told Dow Jones Newswires that “investors will pay more attention to indicators that reflect companies’ business operations, profitability and revenue growth.”
In Tokyo the Nikkei continued its upward trend, having piled on around 10 percent since the Bank of Japan’s stimulus package last week, which sent the yen tumbling against the dollar to levels not seen since May 2009.
In early European trade the greenback bought 99.40 yen, while the euro was at 130.20 yen, against 99.18 and 129.73 in New York on Tuesday.
National Australia Bank said in a note: “Levels above 100 yen continue to look like only a matter of time away.”
The euro bought $1.3099, from $1.3081 in New York.
There was also some cheer from New York, where the Dow rose 0.41 percent to end at another record high Tuesday, while the S&P 500 jumped 0.35 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.48 percent.
Investors have an eye on the Korean peninsula, where the North continues its stand-off with the South and the United States.
On Tuesday it told foreigners to leave Seoul and warned of a thermo-nuclear war while moving two mid-range missiles to the east coast for an expected launch.
The South Korea-US Combined Forces Command also raised its “Watchcon” status from 3 to 2 reflecting indications of a “vital threat,” Yonhap news agency said, citing a senior military official.
Oil prices were mixed, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, dropping nine cents to $94.11 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for May gaining seven cents to $106.30.
Gold was at $1,581.50 an ounce at 1035 GMT compared with $1,571.97 late on Tuesday.
In other markets:
— Singapore slipped 0.10 percent, or 3.32 points, to 3,293.25.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. gained 0.56 percent to Sg$10.75 and real estate giant Capitaland advanced 0.29 percent to Sg$3.46.
— Taipei rose 0.31 percent, or 24.26 points, to 7,752.80.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.82 percent higher at Tw$98.3 while leading chip design house MediaTek added 0.86 percent to Tw$352.5.
— Wellington gained 0.57 percent, or 24.86 points, to 4,420.06.
Fletcher Building was up 0.82 percent at NZ$8.57 and Telecom Corp. rose 1.67 percent to NZ$2.46.
— Manila added 1.24 percent, or 83.62 points, to 6,815.84.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 1.55 percent to 2,880 pesos and Alliance Global Group climbed 0.95 percent to 21.30 pesos.
— Jakarta fell 0.45 percent, or 22.11 points, to 4,877.48.
Cigarette maker Gudang Garam rose 4.40 percent to 52,200 rupiah, while retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa slipped 0.73 percent to 1,360 rupiah.
— Kuala Lumpur added 0.35 percent, or 5.93 points, to 1,696.20.
Maxis gained 2.4 percent to 6.74 ringgit, YTL Power rose 3.4 percent to 1.53 ringgit and Kuala Lumpur Kepong was up 1.3 percent at 21.58 ringgit.
— Bangkok rose 1.33 percent, or 19.53 points, to 1,490.25.
Coal producer Banpu gained 1.69 percent to 362 baht and energy giant PTT added 0.96 percent to 314 baht.
— Mumbai rose 1.03 percent, or 187.97 points, to 18,414.45 points, snapping five straight days of declines.
Mobile phone firm Reliance Communications jumped 13.49 percent to 73.2 rupees and housing finance firm HDFC advanced 3.64 percent to 780.65 rupees.—Danny McCord
Originally posted: 12:01 pm | Wednesday, April 10th, 2013