Asian markets buoyed by US, Europe stimulus hopes

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 30 2012 05:26 PM | Updated as of Jul 31 2012 02:24 AM

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly rose for a second straight session Monday on hopes for new rounds of central bank stimulus in Europe and the United States to kickstart their troubled economies.

The gains followed positive leads from Wall Street and Europe on Friday, while comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi Thursday on saving the euro were reinforced by Germany, France and Italy over the weekend.

Tokyo closed up 0.80 percent, or 68.80 points, at 8,635.44, Sydney gained 0.85 percent, or 35.9 points, to 4,245.7 and Seoul also climbed 0.80 percent, adding 14.63 points to 1,843.79.

Hong Kong rose 1.61 percent, or 310.44 points, to 19,585.40 but Shanghai was down 0.89 percent, or 18.85 points, at 2,109.91.

Data showing US gross domestic product expanded at a weaker pace in the three months to June underlined the frail state of the world's number one economy but lifted sentiment as dealers now expect a fresh cash injection from the Federal Reserve.

Washington said the economy grew 1.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, after 2.0 percent in the first three months, sending US shares skyward.

Global shares were sent soaring on Friday after Draghi said the "ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me it will be enough".

That message was reinforced later Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande who vowed in a joint statement to do "everything to protect the eurozone" after telephone talks.

Merkel re-iterated the pledge in a joint statement with Italian prime minister Mario Monti on Sunday.

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker also said in interviews published Sunday that the eurozone had reached a crucial juncture and its leaders would work with the ECB to save the single currency.

"There's a great degree of expectation around policy response from the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve," Pengana Capital portfolio manager Tim Schroeders in Australia told Dow Jones Newswires.

The string of positive news has helped push down borrowing costs for under-pressure Spain. The yield on benchmark 10-year bonds fell to 6.658 percent Friday from 6.828 percent the day before, after surging towards eight percent earlier in the week.

In early European trade markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris all rose.

On currency markets, the euro bought $1.2275 and 96.20 yen, down from $1.2315 and 96.63 yen in New York late Friday. The dollar firmed to 78.37 yen from 78.19 yen.

In Japan, the Nikkei advanced despite figures showing factory output unexpectedly fell in June as the debt crisis in Europe as well as a strong yen quelled demand for the country's goods.

Oil prices were mixed. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery was up 15 cents to $90.28 a barrel in the late afternoon, while Brent North Sea crude, also for September was 20 cents down at $106.73 27.

Gold was at $1,619.44 at 0830 GMT from $1,623.65 late Friday.

In other markets:

-- Taipei rose 0.48 percent, or 34.39 points, to 7,158.88.

Formosa Plastics added 0.62 percent to Tw$81.4 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.38 percent lower at Tw$79.0.

-- Manila closed 1.12 percent higher, gaining 58.35 points to 5,277.90.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 1.95 percent to 96.80 pesos while Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 0.22 percent to 2,704 pesos.

-- Wellington added 0.50 percent, or 17.60 points, to 3,518.89.

Fletcher Building was up 1.01 percent at NZ$6.02, Telecom rose 2.55 percent to NZ$2.61 and The Warehouse was steady at NZ$2.58.

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