Singapore: Asian stocks rose and neared 22-month highs on Thursday after US technology and financial firms beat earnings forecasts and China’s accelerating economic growth underpinned hopes of a broad, global economic recovery.
A surprise move earlier in the week by Singapore’s central bank to allow its currency to appreciate, a Moody’s Corp. sovereign rating upgrade of South Korea and China’s strong gross domestic product numbers are all being seen as signals of Asia-led global economic growth.
“There’s probably enough catalysts to keep us moving forward, assuming the earnings results are as solid as they’re expected to be,” said IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock in Australia.
Intel Corp. and JPMorgan Chase and Co. posted better-than-expected results earlier in the week.
Google Inc., scheduled to report results later on Thursday, is expected to post a 21% rise in first-quarter revenue. Next week, financial heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will join companies such as International Business Machines Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. in reporting results.
The MSCI index of Asian shares outside of Japan was up around 0.2%. The index had risen to its highest since June 2008 earlier in the day.
Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.6% to a one-week closing high, with shippers up on strong Chinese economic growth and the market supported after robust US results.
Shipping firms extended gains as bullish Chinese economic growth data sparked hopes for more demand.
China chalked up an unexpectedly strong annual growth of 11.9% in the first quarter, prompting renewed calls for tighter policies to prevent the economy from overheating and stoking speculation on when it will loosen its tight grip on the yuan.
Hong Kong shares erased most of their gains to end up 0.2% as renewed worries that Beijing may take steps to cool the roaring economy weighed on the market. Shanghai shares ended almost flat.
Taiwan stocks jumped 0.9% to a 12-week closing high as gains on Wall Street and an upbeat forecast by chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd fuelled hopes of solid demand for the tech industry. South Korean shares rose half a per cent to a 22-month closing high led by financials and shipyards. Singapore closed down 0.1%.
The euro fell against the dollar and the yen as higher costs to insure against a Greek default highlighted persistent concerns about Greece’s debt problems and cut demand for risky assets. The dollar recovered from earlier losses triggered after strong Chinese economic data ramped up speculation of a yuan revaluation.
Oil prices hovered below $86 (Rs3,818) a barrel as strength in the dollar tempered an early rally after news of surging growth in China.