Hong Kong: Most Asian markets rose on Thursday as a better-than-expected report on US durable goods orders calmed investor worries about recession in the world’s largest economy. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index shot up 3% to 14,124.47, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 2% to 1,841.22, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6% to 24,383.99.
The gains came after Wall Street climbed overnight on US government data showing that orders for durable goods in April dipped by 0.5%—one-third of the drop experts had expected. That raised hopes that manufacturing might help the US economy—a major export market for Asia—shake off a slump in its housing market.
A man walks past an electronic share price board in Tokyo. The main equity index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 3% to close at 14,124.47 points on Thursday (Photo by: Yoshikazu Tsuno /AFP)
“Investors were relieved by the results,” said Masatoshi Sato, a strategist at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. Ltd in Tokyo.
In Hong Kong, improved sentiment helped drive telecoms higher. China Mobile Ltd steadied itself after several days of losses, climbing 1.5%.
The company, the world’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has plunged more than 13% on concerns that China’s new plan to revamp its telecom industry will increase competition in the sector.
“Unless China changes its policy on mobile number mobility, we expect China Mobile to remain the dominant mobile service provider in China over the next few years,” ICEA Securities Ltd said in a research note. With oil prices sliding, major refiner China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, gained 4.2%.
The light, sweet crude contract for July delivery was trading around $130 (Rs5,564) a barrel in electronic trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had hit a record high of $135 a barrel last week.
Oil prices helped support energy stocks in Australia, where the S&P/ASX index rose 1.1% to 5,709.4.
India’s market, meanwhile, dropped, with the Sensex sinking 1.27% to 1,6316.26. In mainland China, stocks also fell as investors sold banks and property shares amid mounting pessimism over future market trends. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.7% to 3,401.44.
Many investors are holding back awaiting inflation data, the consumer price index, for May that might yield clues regarding future monetary policies, analysts said.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s biggest lender, fell 1.4%, while Leading property company China Vanke slipped 4.4%.
In additional currency dealings, selling of US dollars by Chinese banks pushed the yuan higher. The dollar was at 6.9366 yuan around 0730 GMT (1pm India time) on the over-the-counter market, down from Wednesday’s close of 6.9444.