Asian stocks rise on stimulus pledge

Asian stocks rise on stimulus pledge

Bangkok: Asian markets rose on Tuesday as investors fed on a pledge by the world’s 20 biggest economies to underwrite the global recovery with massive stimulus efforts.

Stocks in Australia jumped more than 1% amid news business confidence had reached a near six-year high. Japanese shares shrugged off weak economic data to gain modestly. Oil prices hung around $68 ahead of Wednesday’s Opec meeting.

With Wall Street closed for a holiday, markets continued to lap up the weekend announcements from finance officials at the Group of 20 summit in London that boosted European and Asian shares on Monday.

The officials welcomed improvements in economic growth but warned recovery was not sustainable without continued government help in the form of deficit spending, low interest rates and efforts to expand the money supply.

“I don’t know if the optimism is justified but people are buying into it," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd in Hong Kong.

“The G-20 countries said they would continue to flood the system with liquidity so the economy doesn’t tank. That’s what investors wanted to hear. Investors always want to believe the good news and disregard the bad news," he said.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average was up 25.52 points, or 0.3%, at 10,346.46 despite a steep fall in the nation’s current account surplus underlining prolonged weakness in exports, a key driver of growth for the world’s No. 2 economy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 128.89, or 0.6%, to 20,758.20 while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.5% at 1,616.27.

Australia’s benchmark jumped 1.5% as a monthly survey showed business confidence in August at its highest level in nearly six years. China’s Shanghai index gained 0.2% and Taiwan rose 1.4%.

In Tokyo trade, the world’s biggest automaker Toyota Motor Corp. fell 1% despite announcing it is hiring 800 contract workers in Japan to keep up with brisk sales of its Prius gas-electric hybrid car.

Oil prices hovered near $68 a barrel for a fifth day as the US summer driving season wound down and Opec planned to meet Wednesday. Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 38 cents at $68.40.

In currencies, the dollar fell to ¥92.76 from ¥93.05. The euro rose to $1.4342 from $1.4332.