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Asia Stocks Rise 4th Day as Consumer Shares Lead Gain
2014-03-31 10:48:33

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 137.22 as of 10:54 a.m. inTokyoJapan’s Topix (TPX) index added 0.3 percent as the yen held last week’s losses versus the dollar and even as data showed industrial production unexpectedly fell 2.3 percent in February from January. A three percentage-point sales-tax increase takes effect in Japan tomorrow.

The regional benchmark index lost 0.8 percent this month and 3.3 percent this year through last week as investors weighed the crisis in Ukraine, with gauges in Japan and Hong Kong declining the most among developed markets. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Chicago today as investors await payrolls data due later in the week to assess the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

“Shares have rebounded a bit recently after falling too much due to the Ukraine situation.” said Masaru Hamasaki, a senior strategist at Tokyo-based Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., which manages about 11 trillion yen ($107 billion) in assets. “Things haven’t deteriorated further, giving a sense of relief to the market.”

Eclat Textile Co. rose 6.8 percent in Taiwan, the most among the MSCI Asia Pacific Index group tracking consumer discretionary shares. China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s second-largest lender by market value, jumped 1.1 percent after posting profit growth that beat expectations. Mazda Motor Corp., a Japanese automaker that gets about 30 percent of its revenue in North America, gained 3.6 percent.

Regional Gauges

South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed as North Korea said it may conduct a “new form” of nuclear test if the U.S. challenges its efforts to enhance deterrence through military drills. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.1 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index was little changed and Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city both rose less than 0.1 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent today. The measure gained 0.5 percent on March 28 as consumer shares rebounded amid data showing household purchases rose in February by the most in three months.

Household purchases, which account for almost 70 percent of the U.S. economy, climbed 0.3 percent after a 0.2 percent gain in January that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed.

China Manufacturing

An official purchasing managers’ index of Chinese manufacturing due tomorrow is estimated to drop to 50.1 for March from 50.2 in February, a Bloomberg survey of economists shows. Levels above 50 indicate expansion. HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics Ltd. also release the final reading on their China manufacturing PMI for March tomorrow, after preliminary numbers signaled a third month of contraction in the sector.

“All eyes will be on U.S. and global activity data culminating in U.S. payrolls Friday,” Mark Smith, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd., wrote in a client note e-mailed today. “We expect stronger market reaction to U.S. data strength than we do to U.S. data weakness.”

The Asia-Pacific gauge traded at 12.4 times estimated earnings as of March 28 compared with 15.9 for the S&P 500 and 14.6 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah McDonald John McCluskey

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