Asia: Shares mostly higher after Wall St gains

Business Times

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mostly higher yesterday after Wall Street advanced in response to an upbeat outlook for the US economy by the US Federal Reserve, while Chinese trade growth picked up pace in June. An indication from the Fed that it will keep interest rates at record lows well into next year kept downward pressure on the dollar.

Sydney added 0.22 per cent, or 11.92 points, to close at 5464.4 despite soft jobs figures, while Seoul added 0.12 per cent, or 2.34 points, to 2,002.84 and Shanghai was flat, nudging 0.27 per cent down to 2,038.34.

Tokyo dipped 0.56 per cent, or 36.89 points, to 15,265.76 as the strong yen hit exporters.

Jakarta rallied on projections the business-friendly Joko Widodo would win a close presidential election, while Mumbai slipped 0.28 per cent to 25,372.75 as India’s new government unveiled its a much-anticipated first budget that lacked any major reforms.

US shares provided a positive lead as investors picked up bargains after a two-day losing streak thanks to an upbeat assessment of the US economy by Fed policymakers in the minutes of their June board meeting.

The minutes showed the bank plans to end its five-year-long, economy-boosting bond-buying scheme in October. “If the economy progresses about as the committee expects... this final reduction would occur following the October meeting,” the minutes said.

In China, the General Administration of Customs said exports rose 7.2 per cent year-on-year in June while imports gained 5.5 per cent.

In other markets:

q Taipei rose 0.79 per cent, or 75.14 points, to 9,565.12. PC maker Acer rose 2.55 per cent to T$22.1 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.37 per cent higher at T$134.5.

q Wellington added 0.10 per cent, or 5.27 points, to 5,128.01. Fletcher Building was up 0.45 per cent at NZ$8.90 and Telecom edged 0.56 per cent higher to NZ$2.69.

q Manila rose 0.48 per cent, or 33.42 points, to 6,937.21. BDO Unibank gained 0.11 per cent to 92 pesos while Alliance Global Group rose 0.34 per cent to 29.80 pesos.

q Bangkok gained 0.67 per cent to 1,518.01. Property developer Pruksa Real Estate soared 6.20 per cent to 34.25 baht, while hospitality company Minor International rose 3.97 per cent to 32.75 baht. AFP