Bangkok: Asian stocks markets jumped on Monday, buoyed by positive export figures from Japan that point toward a recovery from a devastating tsunami earlier this year.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4% to 8,798.81, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng soared 3% to 18,572.70 and South Korea’s Kospi added 2.3% to 1,880.55.
Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and Indonesia were also higher. Japan’s finance ministry said early Monday that exports rose 2.4% in September compared with a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month of growth. The rise follows a five-month decline in the wake of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan. Enthusiasm for stock markets is on the upswing amid some positive third-quarter earnings reports from US companies, which come despite a weak economy.
Among S&P 500 companies reporting so far, seven out of ten have posted higher profits than expected. Still, investors are haunted by fear of another economic slowdown. Europe is struggling to contain a debt crisis that has hobbled Greece’s economy and threatens to drag larger economies — as well as the region’s banks — into financial havoc.
A Greek default could set off another global financial panic and tip the already fragile US economy into recession. European leaders are to meet Wednesday to hammer out a concrete resolution to the crisis, including ways to fortify the €440 billion ($600 billion) bailout fund to help prevent larger economies that use the euro common currency, such as Italy, from being dragged into the crisis.
Weeks of intensive discussions by European leaders on the crisis have so far failed to produce a decisive resolution. “Markets will remain nervous ahead of Wednesday’s EU summit, hoping that officials can settle their differences and emerge with a concrete solution.
In this respect, the risk of disappointment is high,” Credit Agricole CIB said in a research note. Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 18 cents to $87.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.33 to finish at $87.40 per barrel on the Nymex on Friday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3875 from $1.3864 Friday in New York. The dollar rose to ¥76.26 from ¥76.12.