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Asian stocks rise after strong Japan, China data

Asian stocks rise after strong Japan, China data

Asian markets rose today as strong Chinese trade data lifted hopes for the global economic outlook while Japanese stocks were boosted by improved growth figures and Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Weaker-than-forecast US jobs figures raised concerns about the world’s number one economy but also fuelled hope that the Federal Reserve will hold off winding down its stimulus programme for the time being.

Tokyo rose 1.89% by the break as dealers bought into construction and real estate plays after Tokyo’ Olympics joy, while there was also cheer for better-than expected gross domestic product data for the April-June quarter.

Hong Kong added 0.96% and Shanghai was 1.40% higher and Sydney rose 0.25% in the first session after the conservative Liberal and National coalition won a weekend general election in Australia as widely expected. Seoul climbed 0.81%.

Official Chinese data yesterday showed exports jumped 7.2% year-on-year to US$190.6 billion (RM632.3 billion) last month, much better than the 6.0% expected by economists. It was also better than the 5.1% rise seen in July.

The figures are the latest in a string of good results out of Beijing that indicate China’s painful slowdown over much of the first six month of 2013 may have come to an end. Earlier this month the government said manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in 16 months in August.

Investors were cheered by the news as Chinese growth is key to helping drive the economies of many other countries in the region.

Tokyo dealers were already in buying mood after the Olympics result when data was unveiled showing the Japanese economy grew 0.9% over the previous quarter in April-June, up from a preliminary reading of a 0.6%.

On an annualised the economy expanded 3.8%, the government said, up from the first estimate of 2.6%. Annualised figures show the rate of growth if the data was stretched across an entire year.

“The Olympics, better-than-expected China’s export data, and strong GDP (gross domestic product) data are all supporting the market today,” Haruhiko Kuramochi, strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The Nikkei was also supported by a weaker yen as confidence in the global economy saw investors move into higher-risk assets looking for better returns.

In early forex trade the dollar bought 99.62 yen (RM3.3185), against 99.11 yen Friday in New York. The euro was at US$1.3174 and 131.27 yen compared with US$1.3180 and 130.62 yen.

The greenback suffered a sell-off on Friday after the US Labor Department said the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, below projections of 177,000. The report also lowered the estimates for jobs added in June and July.

However, while the result suggests the US economy is not as strong as hoped, it means the Federal Reserve’s plans to reel in its stimulus programme may be put off a little longer.

Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors, said the report “wasn’t good at all” but added: “It’s a ‘what’s bad is good’ type of thing.”

Global markets – especially in emerging economies – were hammered last month as foreigners fled back the the West in expectations the Fed will start to cut back on its vast bond purchases by the end of the year.

On Wall Street Dow fell 0.10%, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were flat.

While buying sentiment was strong, an ongoing dispute between Russia and the US over Syria had dealers on edge as presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin failed Friday to reach agreement at a G20 summit on how to deal with the crisis.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, was down 35 US cents at US$110.18 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for October shed 16 US cents to US$115.96.

Gold cost US1,388.90 an ounce at 10:30am (Malaysian time) compared with US$1,368.10 late Friday. – AFP, September 9, 2013.

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