By Danny Mccord
SINGAPORE: Asian stocks rose on Friday as stronger-than expected economic data from China and the United States boosted confidence in the global economic recovery.
US Treasury prices slipped as investors turned to stocks and the dollar held steady after dropping to an eight-month low against a basket of currencies the previous day.
Chinese manufacturing gathered momentum last month, handily beating market forecasts and providing further evidence that the economy is pulling smoothly out of a second-quarter slowdown.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 0.36% compared with a rise of 0.24 before the release of China’s Purchasing Managers Index. The index gained more than 17% in the last quarter.
“This looks like the real deal. It’s not just inventory correction. We think that end demand is picking up in China and the economy has stabilised after the summer lull,” said Frederick Neuman, co-head Asian economics, HSBC in Hong Kong.
Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.5% on Friday, helped by short-covering after sharp falls the previous day and after US economic data provided a degree of optimism.
New US claims for jobless benefits fell last week, a sign of an improving labor market, while Midwest business activity grew more than expected in September. Also, US second-quarter growth was revised a touch higher on firmer consumer spending.
“Japanese stocks are recouping some ground as investors appear to be correcting extreme pessimism triggered yesterday by the yen’s advance and worries about European finance problems,” said Koichi Nosaka, a market analyst at Securities Japan, Inc.
India is scheduled to release its manufacturing survey data later on Friday.
The dollar held steady at ¥83.55, backing away from the previous day’s low at ¥83.16 and moving further off last month’s 15-year low below 83 which had prompted Japanese authorities to intervene for the first time in six years.
The euro paused below a five-month high on the dollar on Friday while the Australian dollar jumped on optimism that the strong data from China augured well for the country’s resource exports.