Tokyo: Most Asian markets rose on Thursday, lifted by overnight gains in commodity prices and this week’s larger-than-expected cut in the key US interest rate.
Shares in China and Hong Kong finished at new closing records, while the
Philippines’ main index added 2.4%. Stocks also rose in Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan. Shares fell in Indonesia and Singapore on profit-taking.
Gaining strength: Pedestrians pass a stock indicator in Tokyo on Wednesday. Traders say they expect the Nikkei to hover at current levels if the dollar remains at around the 116-yen mark.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei-225 index added 0.20% to close at 16,413.79 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Steel and trading house shares led the gains, boosted by higher oil and metal prices. Oil prices surged above $82 (Rs3,272) a barrel overnight, though they retreated slightly in Asian trading on Thursday. Industrial metals also posted overnight gains.
Sony Corp.slid 0.91% after announcing it would put off until 2008 the start of its “Home” virtual world services for the PlayStation 3, initially planned for later this year.
Traders said they expect the Nikkei to hover at current levels if the dollar remains around the 116-yen mark.
But, the index remains vulnerable to overseas factors as players await US bank earnings, said Seiichiro Iwasawa, chief strategist at Nomura Securities Co Ltd.
“Players will probably stay on the sidelines for another month or so until they actually get to see where the US economy is heading,” Iwasawa said.
Winners included trading company Marubeni Corp., whose stocks were up 5.2%, and steelmaker JFE Holdings Inc, up 4.01%. Semiconductor manufacturer Kyocera Corp. gained 1.18%.
Consumer credit shares fell amid reports that major player Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos Co. was mulling restructuring plans, which were announced after the market’s close. Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos Co. Ltd’s stocks plunged 13%, while parent company, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, finished the day flat. In Hong Kong, shares rose to a second straight record close as they tracked the gains in Wall Street overnight.
The blue chip Hang Seng Index rose 0.57% to 25,701.13.
Traders said they expect the local market to continue rising in the short term on the back of abundant liquidity.
“The US rate cut removed a key overhang and the Hong Kong market can now fully reflect its favourable factors, particularly the mainland’s plan to allow individuals there to invest directly in Hong Kong,” said Y.K. Chan, a strategist at Phillip Capital Management (HK) Ltd.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6%to 13,815.56, rising for the second day after the US Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point on Tuesday.
China Mobile Ltd, the country’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, saw its stocks rise 1.5% in Hong Kong to a record close after it announced the addition of 5.59 million new users to its customer base in August.