Asian shares jump amid improved US indicators

Asian shares jump amid improved US indicators

Bangkok: Asian stock markets rose sharply on Thursday after improved economic indicators powered big gains on Wall Street and worries eased about Europe’s debt problems.

Signs that the US job market thawed in November jump-started the advance. ADP Employer Services, a payroll company, said small businesses added the largest amount of workers in three years last month, well ahead of what analysts had forecast. Improved economic growth in the US, the world’s No. 1 economy, would be a boon for export-reliant Asia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average surged 1.7% to 10,160.36, at one point hitting its highest intraday level in more than five months.

The dollar’s climb over the ¥84 line bolstered Japanese exporters like automakers and electronics companies. Camera giant Canon Inc. rose 2.4%, and Sony Corp. was up 1.3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.9% to 23,458.74 and the Shanghai Composite index advanced 1.6% to 2,868.49. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.9% to 1,945.76.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 2% to 4,676.90 as investors snapped up mining shares. BHP Billiton Ltd. and rival Rio Tinto Ltd. both rose more than 2%.

Missing out on the day’s gains was Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, which saw U.S. auto sales drop 3% in November, while the industry overall posted a 17% climb compared with a year earlier. Toyota’s shares fell 0.8% in Tokyo.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 249.76, or 2.3%, to 11,255.78 in its biggest gain since Sept. 1 after the employment numbers.

More encouraging news followed throughout the day. The Institute of Supply Management said its index of manufacturing activity rose in November for the 16th month. The Federal Reserve then said the US economy improved in 10 of the Fed’s 12 regions.

European stocks had earlier benefited after European central bank president Jean-Claude Trichet suggested that the bank could buy bonds issued by countries within the European Union. That, along with a better-than-expected bond auction by Portugal, pushed the euro higher.

Investors were also eyeing an ECB interest rate decision later Thursday.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 25.52, or 2.2%, to 1,206.07, and the Nasdaq composite rose 51.20, or 2.1%, to 2,549.43.

In currencies, the dollar fell to 84.07 yen from 84.09 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.3100 from $1.3115.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was down 14 cents at $86.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $2.64 to settle at $86.75 on Wednesday.