Tags: Asia | stocks | Yen | Alibaba

Asian Stocks Rise as Yen Extends Loss, US Jobless Claims Fall

Friday, 19 September 2014 10:10 AM

Asian stocks rose Friday, paring a second weekly decline on the benchmark index, as fewer Americans filed for jobless claims, the yen held at a six-year low against the dollar and Scotland voted to reject independence.

Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets 47 percent of its revenue in North America, advanced 1.2 percent. IHI Corp. jumped 5.1 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its rating on shares of the Japanese heavy-machinery maker. Alacer Gold Corp. soared 11 percent in Sydney as OceanaGold Corp. said it had approached Alcer to merge.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.3 percent to 144.45 as of 4:11 p.m. in Hong Kong. The measure is heading for a 1 percent decline this week after the weakest growth in Chinese industrial output since 2008 added to evidence the world’s second-biggest economy is losing momentum.

“The market can grind higher into the middle of next year,” Mark Lister, Wellington-based head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners Ltd., which has about $6.8 billion under management, said. “With central banks still being pretty supportive, with economic growth ticking over and with earnings growth from most regions still looking decent, you can really see there aren’t any better alternatives to equities. We’re staying overweight equities.”

American jobless claims fell by 36,000 to 280,000 in the period ended Sept. 13, the Labor Department said Thursday. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decline to 305,000. Those already collecting unemployment benefits fell to a more than seven-year low.

Regional Gauges

Japan’s Topix index gained 1.1 percent as the yen slid 0.4 percent to 109.12 per dollar, falling for a third day. That’s the first time since September 2008 that it’s traded at 109 per dollar. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.6 percent with gaming shares Sands China Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. rising the most. Sands added 3.6 percent to HK$44.65 and Galaxy climbed 3 percent to HK$51.35. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland stocks traded in the city fell 0.2 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index both rose 0.3 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times gained 0.3 percent, Taiwan’s Taiex Index increased less than 0.1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent. India S&P BSE Sensex Index added 0.1 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.3 percent today after the underlying stock gauge yesterday closed at a record high. The Federal Reserve this week renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after its bond-buying program ends, probably next month. Policy makers also projected a steeper increase in borrowing costs next year, raising the median forecast for the benchmark rate at the end of 2015 to 1.375 percent from June’s estimate of 1.125 percent.

Scotland Votes

Scotland rejected independence in a referendum, with the campaign to keep the country in the U.K. prevailing by a wider margin than predicted in the most recent polls.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is said to have undertaken the biggest U.S. initial public offering. Alibaba raised $21.8 billion in its initial share sale, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified.

Japanese exporters climbed with Honda rising 1.2 percent to 3,756 yen. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, gained 1.4 percent to 3,591 yen.

IHI jumped 5.1 percent to 540 yen, the highest close since November 1996, after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the stock to outperform from neutral and increased its price target forecast to 600 yen from 450 yen.

Alacer soared 11 percent to A$2.13 and OceanaGold gained 3.1 percent to A$2.64. OceanaGold, whose approaches to Alacer began in February, said today it isn’t in talks with Alacer and would only be willing to pursue a deal with the cooperation of the Alacer board. Alacer said it has no intention of pursuing any corporate transaction.

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Asian stocks rose Friday, paring a second weekly decline on the benchmark index, as fewer Americans filed for jobless claims, the yen held at a six-year low against the dollar and Scotland voted to reject independence.
Asia, stocks, Yen, Alibaba
Friday, 19 September 2014 10:10 AM
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