Asian stock markets encouraged by Portugal debt auction, softer yen

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Asian shares rise as Europe worries ease

TOKYO — Asian stock markets gained in early trading Friday as sentiment improved after gains on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 1.8 percent to 9,261.80 at midmorning, as the market welcomed data showing Japan’s economy grew more than preliminary numbers indicated and the yen retreated against the dollar.

The dollar stood just above the 84-yen line, up from 83.90 yen.

Japan’s gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June period, up from a meager 0.4 percent estimated last month, the Cabinet Office announced Friday.

The result means that Japan’s economy is not as weak as initial reports, thanks to higher capital spending by companies. Corporate investment expanded 1.5 percent, compared with 0.5 percent growth in the Cabinet Office’s preliminary figures.

The result translates to growth of 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.2 percent to 1,806.2, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 percent to 4,586.8.

In New York overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.2 percent to 10,415, extending a September rally after another report showed modest improvement in the jobs market. The S&P 500 was up 0.4 percent, to 1,104.2, while the Nasdaq composite closed up 0.3 percent, at 2,236.

The Labor Department said the number of people requesting unemployment benefits for the first time fell to the lowest level in two months, adding to signs that employers aren’t resorting to staff cuts as economic growth slows.

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