Hong Kong: Most Asian stock markets gained modestly on Tuesday after more encouraging signs that the global recession is starting to let up.
But the advance was smaller than the previous day’s as some investors showed caution following a three-month rally. Oil prices were steady above $68, while Japanese car companies like Toyota and Nissan climbed after General Motors Corp.’s bankruptcy removed some uncertainty about the fate of the US automaker.
Investors got another dose of positive US economic news with better-than-expected readings on manufacturing, consumer spending and construction spending.
That reinforced for many traders what upbeat surveys about China’s manufacturing indicated the day before: that global economic activity is stabilizing or growing in major countries.
Evidence to that effect has helped push world equities markets sharply higher since March. Liquidity brought on by government measures has only accelerated money into stocks.
“Every economy in the world is showing signs of growth, like China, or stabilization, like the US,” said Khiem Do, a Hong Kong-based fund manager who helps oversee about $8.5 billion of Asian equities at Baring Asset Management. “So many investors think the markets have already seen the worst.”
Japan’s Nikkei was up 46.95 points, or 0.5%, to 9,724.70. Australia’s index added 1.4% and Shanghai’s benchmark was up 0.7%.
But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3% to 18,830.94, while South Korea’s Kospi gave up early gains to trade largely flat.
In New York overnight, the Dow Jones rose 221.11, or 2.6%, to 8,721.44, its highest close since early January. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 23.73, or 2.6%, to 942.87, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 54.35, or 3.1%, to 1,828.68.
US stock futures were down slightly, pointing to a lower opening on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 5 points to 8,683, while S&P 500 futures were down 1.5 points, or 0.2%, to 937.60.
Oil prices lingered were down slight in Asian trade, the benchmark contract off 30 cents at $68.28 a barrel. The contract surged $2.27 overnight.
In currencies, the dollar was lower at 96.30 yen from 96.39 yen, while the euro slipped to $1.4158 from $1.4167.