Asian stocks rise after U.S. confidence picks up; Sony climbs

Asian stocks rise after U.S. confidence picks up; Sony climbs
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First Published: Mon, May 21 2007. 08 42 AM IST
Updated: Mon, May 21 2007. 08 42 AM IST
Singapore/Tokyo: Sony Corp. climbed to the highest in almost five years, helped by a rating upgrade at HSBC Securities (Japan) Ltd. Hyundai Motor Corp. gained after Woori Investment & Securities Co. lifted its recommendation on the shares.
“U.S. consumption is more solid than we initially predicted and that helped push exporter shares higher,’’ said Naoki Fujiwara, who oversees $720 million (Rs2,904 crore) at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.
The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.5% to 148.06 at 11:02 am in Tokyo, ending a four-day, 1.6% losing streak.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.6% to 17,497.16. Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd led shipping companies higher after it signed a long-term contract with Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. and Credit Suisse Group raised its rating on the container shipping industry to “overweight.’’
Benchmarks gained elsewhere in markets open for trading, except for China and Malaysia. China’s CSI 300 Index dropped as much as 3.5% after the central bank raised interest rates and ordered lenders to set aside more money as reserves.
U.S. stocks advanced on 18 May, bringing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to within 0.4% of a record high, after the Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment rose to 88.7 from 87.1 in April. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the gauge would fall to 86.2.
‘Good News’
Sony, the world’s second-largest consumer electronics maker, added 4.2% to 6,950 yen, poised for the highest close since June 2002. The U.S. was Sony’s largest overseas market last year. HSBC raised its rating on the stock to “overweight’’ from “neutral,’’ citing improving profitability.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world’s largest contract-electronics manufacturer, climbed 0.6% to NT$236. Venture Corp., Singapore’s biggest publicly traded electronics maker for customers including Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard Co., added 1.3% to S$15.80.
“Any good news in the U.S. is going to be of extra assistance,’’ said Paul Xiradis, who manages about $8.3 billion in Australian stocks at Ausbil Dexia Ltd in Sydney.
Hyundai Motor Gains
Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, jumped 3.4% to 66,200 won. Woori Investment raised its rating on the shares to “buy’’ from “hold’’ in a report today. The company’s measures to guard against currency appreciation may impact earnings in the second half, wrote analyst Stephen Ahn.
Kia Motors Corp., an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, gained 4% to 11,700 won. Meritz Securities Co. raised the stock’s rating to “buy’’ from “hold’’ in a report today. Kia’s Slovakia plant is a “success’’ on high sales and low costs for labor and materials, wrote Nam Kyung Moon, an analyst.
Mitsui O.S.K., Japan’s second-largest shipping company, jumped 4.6% to 1,609 yen. Meanwhile, the stock was also rated “strong buy’’ in new coverage at Nomura Holdings Inc.
Investors should hold more shares of container shipping companies than are suggested by their benchmarks as the outlook starts to improve, Credit Suisse analysts including Sam Lee wrote in a report today. They raised their rating on Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., the operator of Asia’s fourth-largest container line, to “overweight’’ from “neutral.’’
Singapore’s Neptune Orient added 1%to S$3.92. Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp., Taiwan’s second-largest container shipping company, advanced 1.3% to NT$22.70.
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First Published: Mon, May 21 2007. 08 42 AM IST
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