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Techs, materials lead Asia shares higher

Techs, materials lead Asia shares higher
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First Published: Wed, Apr 20 2011. 09 59 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Apr 20 2011. 09 59 AM IST
Singapore: Asian stocks rose on Wednesday as strong results from chip maker Intel Corp prompted a rally in tech shares, while renewed strength in metals prices boosted materials companies and also lifted the commodity-linked Australian dollar.
Gains in US and European shares on solid corporate earnings helped soothe market sentiment, which had been roiled at the start of the week when rating agency S&P warned it could cut the United States’ sovereign credit rating and as speculation intensified that Greece would need to restructure its debt.
“We have seen a little bounce, not a big bounce,” said Austock Group senior client adviser Michael Heffernan. “All guns are blazing at the moment in the right direction and there is very little blood on the floor.”
The euro bounced off two-week low, with business activity data from France and Germany supporting expectations that the European Central Bank will continue lifting interest rates, boosting the single currency’s yield advantage over the dollar.
Rising equities and a weaker dollar renewed interest in commodities, with Brent crude nearing $122 a barrel, copper rising and gold holding close to a nominal record.
After the Wall Street close, Intel reported strong sales and forecast quarterly revenues well above Wall Street estimates.
US stocks had been lifted by strong earnings from materials and healthcare firms such as Johnson & Johnson .
Japan’s Nikkei share average rose 1.4% with chip stocks prominent among the gainers, although some market players said the Intel report had prompted short-covering rather than the start of a turnaround in the fortunes of the tech sector, which has underperformed this year.
“The market is rebounding, but it’s nothing more than short-covering,” said Kenichi Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities. “Investors will not go long until they see Japanese corporate earnings later this month.”
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.4%, with the tech sub-index up 2.5% and the materials sector gaining 2.1%.
The S&P 500 rose 0.6% on Tuesday, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5%.
The euro traded around $1.4365, having bounced off a two-week low around $1.4155 set on Monday.
The European Central raised its key interest rate from a record low earlier this month, and analysts see further tightening in the pipeline.
With the Bank of Japan and US Federal Reserve expected to keep their monetary policy ultra-loose for the time being, the dollar and yen have become the currencies of choice for the carry trade -- the strategy of use cheap loans to fund investments in higher yielding assets.
The hunt for yield is boosting the Australian dollar , which hit a fresh 29-year high around $1.0599.
Gold traded around $1,497 an ounce, just short of a record, and silver hit a 31-year high at $44.27 an ounce. London metal exchange copper rose 1% to $9,438 a tonne.
A weaker dollar tends to boost the attractiveness of commodities, which are mostly priced in the U.S. currency.
Oil prices rose, helped by a larger-than-expected draw in US stockpiles. Brent crude was up 0.5% at $121.95 a barrel and US crude gained 0.6% to $108.95.
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First Published: Wed, Apr 20 2011. 09 59 AM IST
More Topics: Markets | Global | Nikkei | Asia | Hang Seng |