Asian stocks gain as Wall Street extends rally, Chinese indicators show economy robust

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Asian shares gain on economic optimism

BANGKOK — Asian stock markets climbed Monday as robust Chinese economic indicators boosted confidence in the economic recovery.

Oil prices, meanwhile, surged above $77 a barrel, extending gains for a second trading day after a leak forced the closure of a Chicago-area oil pipeline and disrupted supplies to U.S. Midwest refineries.

Sentiment in regional stock markets was bolstered by the China figures which suggested the world’s No. 2 economy isn’t slowing as abruptly as feared. Exporters in many countries, particularly in Asia, are relying on Chinese demand to offset sluggish growth in the U.S. and Europe.

China’s industrial production growth accelerated to 13.9 percent year-on-year in August from July’s 13.4 percent increase. Investment in factories and other fixed assets soared 24.8 percent while retail sales of consumer goods rose 18.4 percent due to better-than-expected auto sales.

“The data … out of China assumes significance particularly at a time when the rest of the world is passing through a soft patch,” Mirae Asset Securities said in a report. “In the main, it provides further evidence of an economy downshifting to a more sustainable rate of growth.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average paced regional gains, jumping 107.53 points, or 1.2 percent, to 9,346.12. Automakers and tech shares benefited from a softer yen, which triggered buying in exporters. The dollar was trading above the 84-yen level after hitting a fresh 15-year-low last week in the 83-yen range.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 2 percent to 21,685.73, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 1,815.58, and Taiwan’s benchmark was up 2.4 percent at 8,077.50.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.3 percent to 4,611.10, led by miners and banks. China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 1 percent to 2,689.61.

In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 47.53, or 0.5 percent, to close at 10,462.77, extending a rally that began nearly two weeks ago on newfound optimism about the global economy. It was the highest close since Aug. 10. But it’s still only up 0.3 percent this year.

Broader indexes also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.37, or 0.5 percent, to 1,109.55, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.28, or 0.3 percent, to 2,242.48.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 75 cents at $77.20 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $2.20 to settle at $76.45 a barrel on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 84.08 yen from 84.07 yen. The euro rose to $1.2785 from $1.2675.

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