Asian markets up, Tokyo lifted by gains in car, steel stocks

Asian markets up, Tokyo lifted by gains in car, steel stocks
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First Published: Fri, Jul 20 2007. 10 16 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jul 20 2007. 10 16 AM IST
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Hong Kong: Most Asian markets rose on Thursday (19 July), with Japanese stocks advancing as gains in shipping, steel, auto and consumer finance issues outweighed losses in power companies hurt by this week’s strong earthquake.
Hong Kong edged up as traders bought blue chips, and Jakarta and Mumbai finished at record highs.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose by 100.99 points, or 0.56%, to finish at 18,116.57 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
The index got a boost in late trade on a report that consumer finance companies Promise Co. and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. are in talks to merge this year. The news sent the two companies’ share prices soaring. Both issued statements denying any decision to merge had been reached.
Shipping and steel company stocks likewise posted gains. And auto shares climbed despite plans at Toyota Motor and other major manufacturers to temporarily halt domestic production due to damage at a key parts supplier from Monday’s magnitude-6.8 quake.
Power company stocks fell on woes at Tokyo Electric Power, which has experienced a slew of problems at one of its nuclear plants due to the quake, including a fire and leaks of radioactive material into the ocean. TEPCO shares fell 5.55%.
Hong Kong shares edged higher on Thursday as traders bought blue chips, shrugging off concerns that China may soon launch new tightening measures to contain its red-hot economy.
The Hang Seng Index rose 174.28 points, or 0.8%, to 23,016.20.
Conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa rose a sharp 4.1%, and its affiliate Cheung Kong surged 4.2%t.
In other stocks, Hang Seng Bank rose 2.4% and fellow bank HSBC edged up 0.1 percent.
Traders weren’t discouraged by worries that China may rein in its economy in light of new growth figures.
China’s gross domestic product grew 11.9% in the April-June quarter compared to a year earlier, according to figures announced Thursday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That was faster than the 11.1 percent gain in GDP in the first quarter.
In currency trading in Tokyo, the U.S. dollar gained against both the euro and the Japanese yen.
The euro fell to US$1.3792 from US$1.3795.
The greenback bought 121.96 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Thursday, up from 121.89 yen late Wednesday in New York.
Elsewhere:
Bangkok: Thai shares pared intraday losses to end mildly lower. The main stock index dipped 0.3% to 847.26 points.
MANILA: Philippine shares slipped as investors cashed in gains to raise funds for ongoing public offerings. A wider-than-expected first-half budget deficit and higher oil prices also weighed on the market.
MUMBAI: Indian shares surged on Thursday to a new high, led by strong gains in Reliance Industries, and in software and automobile companies. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark 30-stock Sensex climbed 249 points, or 1.63%, to a new high of 15,550 points. It touched an intraday record of 15,593.31 points.
SEOUL: South Korean shares advanced as banks and LG Electronics rose on earnings momentum. Brokerage stocks gained on merger and acquisition speculation.
Shanghai/Shenzhen China shares ended mixed on Thursday, as stronger-than-expected economic data heightened expectations of imminent policy tightening measures. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 17.12 points to close 0.4% lower at 3,912.94.
Singapore: Singapore shares rose slightly as a late-day rally by oil-related stocks outweighed losses in property firms.
SYDNEY: Australian shares ended higher, led by resources and banking stocks, including Macquarie Bank, which issued an upbeat earnings outlook. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 advanced 55.1 points, or 0.9% to 6,384.2.
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First Published: Fri, Jul 20 2007. 10 16 AM IST