Asian shares broadly up ahead of Fed decision
AFP - Thursday, October 30
HONG KONG (AFP) - - Asia's stocks were mostly higher Wednesday, led by a surge in Tokyo, as traders anticipated an interest rate cut in the United States and a similar move in Japan.
Markets got off to a flying start, taking their cue from a near-11 percent rally overnight on the Dow Jones, but later fell back as investor fear for the future of the global economy sunk in.
The Nikkei soared for a second straight day, boosted by a weaker yen, which helps exporters, and bargain hunting following a collapse on Friday and Monday.
The index closed 7.74 percent higher, returning above the 8,000 point level. It had fallen below 7,000 earlier in the week.
In Tokyo afternoon trade the dollar was at 96.57 yen, down from 97.47 in New York late Tuesday, while the euro was at 122.21 yen from 124.33. On Monday the greenback was around the low 90-yen mark and the euro was hovering around 118 yen.
Hong Kong closed the day 0.8 percent higher -- after rising 5.6 percent in the morning -- and Sydney edged up 1.3 percent, while Taipei added 0.15 percent and Singapore was 0.28 percent better off.
However, despite early gains, Seoul -- which was eight percent up at one point -- ended three percent down partly on rumours the government had been offered money by the International Monetary Fund to boost liquidity. Shanghai shed 2.94 percent.
"You can't help but think this extreme strength (on Wall Street) is going to be followed by extreme weakness," ABN AMRO Craigs adviser Alexandra Dalzell told Dow Jones Newswires in New Zealand, where the Wellington bourse added 2.18 percent.
Investors were hoping for the Fed to cut US interest rates by 0.5 percent after their two day meeting later -- a move many hope would bring a little relief to the world's largest economy, which has been battered.
Other central banks around the world are expected to follow suit.
Tokyo stocks were also boosted by a report in the Nikkei business daily that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) "is leaning toward" reducing its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.25 percent Friday.
It would be the first cut since March 2001.
Analysts said a reduction in Japan now seemed likely and markets would be disappointed if the BoJ does not act.
"The rise in share prices seen even in the US suggests the possibility of a sharp negative reaction if the BoJ now fails to cut rates -- a situation that could force the bank's hand," said Barclays Capital analysts.
Elsewhere Manila soared 4.47 percent, Mumbai edged up 0.4 percent and Jakarta rose 0.2 percent but Bangkok lost 3.49 percent and Kuala Lumpur was 0.4 percent lower.
TOKYO: Japan's Nikkei stock index soared more than seven percent.
"Hopes that Japan's central bank may move in tandem with other central banks lifted sentiment for sure, but rallies may be short-lived," Kazuhiro Miyake, chief strategist at Daiwa Institute of Research, said.
The Nikkei index ended up 589.98 points, or 7.74 percent, at 8,211.90 points, following a 6.4 percent gain on Tuesday.
The Topix index of all first section issues climbed 46.29 points, or 5.9 percent, to 830.32.
Analysts said the sharp share price gains were partly due to traders buying back stocks to cover short, or sell, positions.
Honda Motor soared 18 percent to 2,440 yen, Toyota Motor jumped 10 percent to 3,500 yen and Toshiba surged 11 percent to 344 yen.
But Nomura Holdings fell five percent to 861 yen after Japan's top broker reported worse-than-expected second-quarter earnings.
HONG KONG: Hong Kong shares ended 0.8 percent higher.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 105.78 points to 12,702.07. Turnover was 59,23 billion Hong Kong dollars (7.59 billion US).
Investment manager Jackson Wong at Tanrich Securities predicted the index would remain volatile, in a range of 12,000 to 13,000, for the near term.
Ernie Hon, a strategist at ICEA Securities, predicted the Hang Seng Index would continue its rally in the near term after slumping 29 percent since the start of October.
"We expect a 20 to 30 percent rebound in the Hang Seng Index from the Monday low of 10,676, targeting 12,811 to 13,878 in the short term," Hon said.
Heavyweight HSBC was down 4.28 percent and Bank of China dropped 3.35 percent after a strong rebound on Tuesday.
SYDNEY: Australian share prices closed up 1.3 percent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was 51 points higher at 3,845.6 while the broader All Ordinaries rose 50.4 points to 3,805.8.
A total of 1.64 billion shares valued at 5.23 billion dollars (3.35 billion US dollars) changed hands.
The key index climbed almost five percent in intraday trade driven by the mining and financial sectors, dealers said.
BHP Billiton gained 3.7 percent to 26.30 dollars, while Rio Tinto was up 3.71 percent at 70.78.
National Australia Bank was up 0.7 percent at 23.06 and ANZ gained 1.83 percent to 17.24.
St George Bank, which reported a record cash profit in its latest annual earnings statement, dropped 1.94 percent to 26.30.
SHANGHAI: Chinese share prices closed down 2.94 percent.
They said concerns over the deteriorating economic outlook and Beijing's reluctance to introduce measures to support the economy triggered heavy selling.
"Investors are disappointed with Beijing," Central China Securities' Zhang Gang told Dow Jones Newswires.
"So many governments all over the world are launching drastic moves to rescue their economy. Yet Beijing is still somewhat silent."
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed down 52.01 points at 1,719.81 on turnover of 35.4 billion yuan (5.2 billion dollars).
The Shanghai A-share index lost 2.93 percent to 1,806.97, while the Shenzhen A-share index shed 2.27 percent to 496.89.
Haitong Securities fell 7.8 percent to 19.46 yuan and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dropped 5.8 percent to 3.58 yuan.
China Eastern Airlines plunged 7.4 percent to 3.15 yuan and China shed 7.5 percent to 3.69 yuan.
TAIPEI: Taiwan shares edged up 0.15 percent.
The weighted index rose 6.55 points to close at 4,406.52 on turnover of 79.74 billion Taiwan dollars (2.4 billion US).
Shipping surged 6.56 percent, tourism rose 5.75 percent, textiles gained 2.11, and financials edged up 1.06 percent. Construction was off 2.25 percent.
China Airlines, Taiwan's leading air carrier, was at 7.24 dollars and rival EVA Air at 6.90. Both were limit-up seven percent on the sharp decline in oil prices and hopes of visits by more China tourists following upcoming talks between Taiwan and rival China.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co closed 5.79 percent higher at 42.00 while rival United Microelectronics Corp was limit-up at 8.00.
SEOUL: South Korean shares closed three percent lower.
The KOSPI index ended down 30.19 points at 968.97.
Volume was 754.6 million shares worth 8.2 trillion won (5.74 billion dollars).
The won closed at 1,427 to the dollar, up 40.8 won from Tuesday's close, on expectations that a likely US rate cut would make the US unit less attractive.
A local business daily reported that the IMF had offered to lend dollars to South Korea without preconditions.
Choi Jong-Ku, head of the finance ministry's international finance bureau, denied the report later in the afternoon, arguing that the country has sufficient foreign reserves.
Woori Finance Holdings tumbled its daily percentage limit of 15 percent to 7,310 won. Hyundai Heavy Industries lost 0.72 percent to 137,000 won.
Samsung Electronics rose 2.48 percent to 475,000 won and steelmaker POSCO added 2.51 percent to finish at 306,500.
SINGAPORE: Share prices recovered from early losses to close 0.28 percent higher.
The main Straits Times Index rose 4.71 points to 1,671.20 on volume of 1.44 billion shares worth 1.51 billion Singapore dollars (1.0 billion US).
Sentiment however remained cautious due to a bleak economic outlook.
DBS rose 40 cents to 10.60, United Overseas Bank was up six cents to 12.80 and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp declined 31 cents to 4.8.
CapitaLand eased one cent to 2.63, Telecom was unchanged at 2.41 and Singapore Airlines tumbled 50 cents to 10.30.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares fell 0.4 percent.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index shed 3.03 points to end the day at 829.41.
DiGi fell 8.1 percent to 19.20 ringgit, IJM Corp lost 12.2 percent to 2.45 and Tenaga shed 2.4 percent to 6.00.
Sime Darby gained 1.7 percent to 5.90, MMC Corp rose 6.5 percent to 1.96 and PPB added 2.7 percent to 7.50.
BANGKOK: Thai share prices slid 3.49 percent.
Dealers said investors were not swayed by talk of a plan by the Thai government to set up a 50 billion baht (1.4 billion dollar) fund to shore up the sluggish market.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index fell 13.89 points to close at 384.15.
JAKARTA: Indonesian shares closed 0.2 percent higher.
The Jakarta Composite Index rose 2.23 points to 1,113.62.
Bellwether Telkom rose two percent to 5,100 rupiah and Bank Danamon soared 9.6 percent to 2,000 on bargain hunting.
MANILA: Philippine share prices closed 4.47 percent higher.
The composite index gained 76.23 points to 1,780.64 rebounding from a five-day fall.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. was the most actively traded stock, ending 6.6 percent higher at 1,930 pesos.
Manila Electric Co. extended gains, closing up 9.3 percent at 53.00 pesos. San Miguel A shares, however, lost 2.15 percent to 47.50 pesos, while its B shares fell 4.39 percent to 47.50.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed 2.18 percent higher.
The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 58.49 points to close at 2,745.60.
Market leader Telecom surrendered its early gains to close down six cents at 2.21 dollars.
Fletcher Building rose eight cents to 5.61 dollars and Contact Energy was up 51 cents at 7.15 dollars. Fisher & Paykel fell two cents to 2.95 dollars.
MUMBAI: Indian shares rose 0.4 percent.
The benchmark 30-share Sensex index climbed 36.43 points to 9,044.51, off the day's high of 9,297.76.
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