Asia stocks gain on China data, Japan turfs
Friday, February 08, 2013 Asia stocks gain on China data, Japan turfs Most Asian stocks advanced Friday as upbeat economic indicators from China generated some optimism over the health of the mainland economy. The Japanese market was a notable exception, and was weighed by poor earnings reports from Sony Corp. and some other front-line companies. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index fell 203.91 points, or 1.8%, to 11,153.16. The performance led to a 0.3% decline for the stock benchmark during the week, marking its first negative return in 13 weeks. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 38.16 points, or 0.2%, to 23,215.16 Sony Corp. shares were in the spotlight in Tokyo, where they plunged 10.1% after reporting a quarterly net loss of 10.8 billion yen ($115.65 million U.S.) in the quarter ended Dec. 31. Although the performance was better than the ¥159-billion loss Sony reported in the year-ago period, they disappointed analysts who had been expecting a profit. Sony reaffirmed its fiscal-year outlook for a net profit of ¥20 billion Suzuki Motor Corp. slid 5.4% after also reporting quarterly performance that missed analyst expectations. Several technology sector shares also retreated to give back some of the strong gains posted in the past several weeks. Among them, Panasonic Corp. dropped 5.4% and Pioneer Corp. fell 6.8%. Going in the opposite direction, Fujitsu Ltd. rose 5.1%, after announcing plans to cut around 5,000 jobs. Fujitsu also lowered its fiscal-year outlook to a loss of ¥95 billion as it restructured its semiconductor operations. Some South Korean exporters also climbed, meanwhile, retracing some of the losses suffered recently. Kia Motors Corp. added 4.4% and affiliate Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 4.8%. In Australia, Newcrest Mining Ltd. jumped 4.4% after the gold miner reported a 51% drop in first-half profit that nonetheless beat analyst expectations. In Hong Kong, Cosco Pacific Ltd. and insurance group AIA Group Ltd. were among the gainers, rising 3% and 1.6%, respectively. CHINA In Shanghai, the CSI 300 Composite Index recovered 11.86 points, or 0.4%, to 2,771.73 The advance came after data for January showed exports jumped 25% and imports climbed 28.8% from the year-ago period, giving the country a trade surplus of $29.2 billion U.S.. All three figures beat market expectations. Official figures released separately also showed the country’s consumer price index rose 2% in January from a year-earlier, easing from a 2.5% rate of increase in December. In addition to a push higher from the upbeat data, Chinese stocks were also aided by buying ahead of next week’s Lunar New Year holidays. In Shanghai trading action, SAIC Motor Corp. soared 7.4%, while Jiangxi Copper Co. advanced 2.2%. Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese bourses are closed the whole of next week, while the Hong Kong market is closed from Monday through Wednesday, for the Lunar New Year holidays. Japanese markets are closed on Monday for a holiday. In other markets In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recovered 8.53 points, or 0.3%, to 3,270.30 Korea’s Kospi Index took on 19.13 points, or 1%, to 1,950.90 Taiwan’s Taiex Index added 19.71 points, or 0.3%, to 7,906.65 In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index prospered 30.48 points, or 0.7%, to 4,225.72 In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 35.59 points, or 0.7%, to 4,971.36
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