Asian shares up on Wall Street rise, bargain buying

Asian shares up on Wall Street rise, bargain buying

Hong Kong: Asian markets rebounded on Thursday as dealers picked up undervalued stocks following a recent sell-off while the first gain for the Dow in three days also provided some support.

The euro, which has been under pressure over concerns about the European nation’s debt problems, was also given a lift by comments from a Chinese central bank scholar that Beijing should buy more eurozone bonds.

Tokyo finished 1.48%, or 139.17 points, higher at 9,562.05, Sydney snapped a four-day losing streak to end 1.655, or 75.5 points, higher at 4,660.2 and Seoul jumped 2.75%, or 56.04 points, to 2,091.91.

Shanghai added 0.09% and Hong Kong rose 0.53% in the afternoon.

The rallies followed a Dow gain of 0.31% on Wednesday.

Resource firms were among those leading the gains as commodity prices began to rise, with oil rallying after Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley raised their 2012 forecasts for the cost of Brent to $130 a barrel.

The rises also came despite a surprising 600,000-barrel increase in US crude stockpiles in the week to 20 May, confounding analyst expectations of a fall.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, gained 23 cents to $101.55 a barrel, building on gains in New York, while Brent North Sea crude for the same month was down seven cents to $114.86 in the afternoon.

Crude was also given a fillip by gains in equity markets, which indicated improving sentiment.

The gains came after big losses in recent sessions caused by worries over the European debt crisis and data from China suggesting the world’s number two economy was beginning to ease.

In the eurozone the Greek debt crisis continues to unsettle after sharp exchanges between the European Central Bank, which opposes any restructuring of its obligations, and politicians hoping to find some way out of an impasse.

The downgrading of Athens’ debt rating by Fitch on Friday, the downgrading of Italy’s outlook by Standard & Poor’s and rising concern over Spain’s economy have also brought the European crisis back into focus.

However, despite the debt woes the euro rose in early trade after Wang Yong, a professor at the People’s Bank of China’s training institute, said Beijing should expand purchases of eurozone sovereign debt.

He also said China should increase direct investment into Europe. Such moves would help alleviate the global crisis, he added.

The comments sent the euro up to $1.4159 in afternoon Asian trade from $1.4083 late Wednesday in New York, while it gained to ¥115.83 from ¥115.40.

The dollar eased to ¥81.80 from ¥81.89 in New York.

Shanghai rose after a five-day sell-off caused by economic worries that were magnified by data showing a preliminary HSBC Purchasing Managers Index had slipped to a 10-month low, pointing to a slowdown in manufacturing.

In Tokyo, office equipment and camera maker Ricoh jumped 4.12% on a report in the Nikkei business daily that it was planning to sack 10,000 people worldwide as it tries to streamline.

After the markets closed, Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony reported its third annual loss in a row, but forecast a return to the black this year despite a huge online attack.

Sony confirmed that it suffered a net loss of ¥259.6 billion ($3.2 billion) in the year to March but said it expected a net profit of ¥80 billion for the fiscal year that ends in March 2012.

The electronics giant closed flat before the announcement.

Gold opened in Hong Kong at $1,525.00-$1,526.00 per ounce, up from Wednesday’s close of $1,523.00-$1,524.00.