Asian stocks close mostly up after US shares and oil rally


Posted at Jun 06 2008 07:57 PM | Updated as of Jun 07 2008 03:57 AM

Agence France-Presse

HONG KONG - Asian stocks closed mostly up Friday after a strong Wall Street rally lifted investor sentiment and a surge in crude prices boosted oil company shares.

The Japanese stock market rose more than one percent to its highest level in roughly five months, while Australia rose 1.1 percent as oil shares rallied following the sharp rise in crude prices.

Oil prices surged past 130 dollars per barrel on Friday having leapt more than five dollars the day before that.

Investors in Asia were also cheered by better performance on Wall Street, which rallied over 1.7 percent Thursday after Verizon Wireless announced it had agreed to buy mobile operator Alltel in a blockbuster 28.1-billion-dollar deal.

Concerns about sluggish US economic growth also receded after Wal-Mart Stores unveiled better-than-expected May sales.

Elsewhere in Asia on Friday, Hong Kong rose but Chinese shares ended in the red. Taiwan and Singapore closed little changed, while South Korea was shut.

The Indian stock market slipped 1.25 percent in the wake of a fuel price hike earlier in the week, but Malaysian shares rebounded two percent after sliding following the country's 41-percent fuel price hike.

Investors were waiting for a key monthly US jobs report due out later Friday for fresh clues on the health of the world's largest economy, which is battling a financial crisis and housing market slowdown that has slowed growth sharply.

TOKYO: Japanese share prices climbed to the highest level in about five months, boosted by an overnight rally on Wall Street and a weaker yen, which benefits exporters, dealers said.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index rose 148.32 points or 1.03 percent to 14,489.44, the best finish since January 9. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares added 3.66 points or 0.26 percent to 1,428.11.

The Tokyo market was also supported by a weakening of the yen, which is good for exporters.

"The Nikkei is very sensitive to external factors lately," Yasuyoshi Shizuma, a senior sales representative at BNP Paribas, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The market does not ascend or descend gradually, it either surges or plunges," adding that the trend would probably continue next week.

Inpex Holdings jumped 4.0 percent to 1.3 million yen and Nippon Oil gained 3.3 percent to 748 yen.

Kyocera gained 2.9 percent to 10,040 yen. Sony rose 1.1 percent to 5,480 yen as Canon added 1.1 percent to 5,700 yen. Honda Motor firmed 1.3 percent 3,860 yen.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong share prices closed up 0.61 percent, dealers said.

The Hang Seng Index rose 146.89 points to 24,402.18. Turnover fell to 58.62 billion Hong Kong dollars (7.52 billion US dollars) from 63.69 billion dollars on Thursday.

Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires that he expected the index to fall to below 24,000 next week.

"Trading volume remains thin, which suggests sentiment in the near term will remain weak," Lun said. "I expect oil stocks will continue to find support as oil prices will hover at a high level in the short term."

Friday's gain was led by energy companies. Offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC jumped 3.10 percent to 13.38 dollars and PetroChina advanced 1.30 percent to 11 dollars on rising oil prices.

Yanzhou Coal ended up 3.70 percent at 15.64 Hong Kong dollars after it fell 12 percent in the previous two days, and Shenhua Energy gained 2.10 percent to 33.90 dollars after a 7.0 percent slide in the last two sessions.

Y.K. Chan, a fund manager at Phillip Asset Management, said he expected the Hang Seng index to trade in a narrow range between 24,000 and 25,000 next week.

"I can't see any near-term catalysts to attract investors to buy stocks," Chan said.

SYDNEY: Australian shares closed up 1.1 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark SP/ASX 200 index climbed 62 points to 5,592.1 and the broader All Ordinaries added 57.4 points to 5,691.2. Volume was 5.13 billion dollars (4.8 billion US).

"Markets were just realigning themselves after the events of the past week, when resources and energy stocks got sold back quite significantly," head of trading at Shaw Stockbroking, Jamie Spiteri, told Dow Jones Newswires.

BHP Billiton added 3.5 percent to close at 44.00 dollars. Woodside Petroleum gained 3.3 percent to 60.58 dollars. National Australia Bank dropped 1.4 percent to 29.52 dollars but Macquarie Group added 3.9 percent to 55.99.

Airlines were hit by higher oil prices with Qantas falling 4.4 percent to 3.49 dollars and Virgin Blue slipping 2.4 percent to 62 cents.

Telecommunications giant Telstra shed 0.7 percent to 4.60 dollars while shares in major department store David Jones dropped 3.1 percent to 3.44 dollars.

SHANGHAI: Chinese stocks closed 0.66 percent lower, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed down 21.98 points at 3,329.67 on turnover of 42.8 billion yuan (6.2 billion dollars).

"High oil prices sparked concerns over slower growth in corporate earnings and prompted selling in refiners and airlines," Chen Li at Shenyin Wanguo Securities told Dow Jones Newswires.

Regulators gave China State Construction Engineering Corp. the go-ahead to issue up to 12 billion A-shares for a listing in Shanghai, state media reported Friday.

The plan is expected to raise an estimated 42.6 billion yuan (6.1 billion dollars), making it the largest IPO on the mainland in 2008, state media reported.

Traders said the upcoming IPO will affect market sentiment as investors worry about the market's ability to absorb additional supply of shares.

The Shanghai A-share Index lost 0.66 percent at 3,493.19. The Shenzhen A-share Index shed 0.24 percent at 1,058.42.

China United Telecommunications was down 4.61 percent at 8.27 yuan. China Vanke tumbled 4.05 percent to 19.67 yuan. Air China lost 2.40 percent to 12.21.

PetroChina closed 1.83 percent lower at 17.17 yuan. Baoshan Iron Steel rose 2.34 percent to 11.81 yuan.

TAIPEI: Taiwan share prices closed little changed, dealers said.

The weighted index closed up 6.89 points or 0.08 percent at 8,745.35 on turnover of 104.68 billion Taiwan dollars (3.44 billion US).

"As the trading volume still didn't pick up, investors rather locked in profits first," Fubon Securities trader Edward Lien told Dow Jones Newswires.

Formosa International Hotels gained 45.00 to 728.00 dollars. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was up 0.60 at 68.40 and United Microelectronics Corp was up 0.15 at 18.60.

SEOUL: Closed

SINGAPORE: Singapore share prices closed little changed, dealers said.

The blue chip Straits Times Index closed 2.84 points higher at 3,146.73 on volume of 1.03 billion shares worth 1.36 billion Singapore dollars (1.0 billion US).

"For those who are holding long term, it's an opportunity to pick up because a number of stocks are at very attractive valuation. But for trading purposes, the margins are not there," a dealer said.

DBS rose eight cents to 19.86 Singapore dollars. CapitaLand was five cents lower at 6.31 dollars. Singapore Airlines fell 14 cents to 15.76.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian stocks jumped to close up 2.0 percent, dealers said.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index rose 25.01 points to 1,248.57.

"Bargain hunting from local funds and longer-term investors helped the market to rebound after four consecutive days of losses," a dealer told Dow Jones Newswires.

"However, higher energy costs will inevitably hurt consumer spending and erode corporate profits and this is likely to be reflected by further declines in share prices in coming weeks," he said.

Wednesday's surprise 41 percent increase in petrol prices has triggered inflation fears that have weighed heavily on the bourse.

Tenaga leapt 23.3 percent to 9.00 ringgit, Sime Darby rose 2.3 percent to 9.05 ringgit and IOI Corp was 1.4 percent stronger at 7.20 ringgit.

Utility Tenaga benefited from a tariff increase to be implemented in July.

BANGKOK: Thai share prices closed 0.93 percent higher, dealers said.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index rose 7.51 points to close at 817.33 while the blue-chip SET 50 index gained 6.09 points to 585.19.

"The market rebounded and closed up today. That was due mainly to the psychological effect on the Thai market following the gains in the US stock markets and rising oil prices," said Pichai Lertsupongkit, senior vice president at Thanachart Securities.

Protests against Thailand's newly elected government continued for a 13th day on Friday, spearheaded by activists in the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy.

PTT Plc surged 8.00 baht to close at 332.00 baht. Bangkok Bank rose 1.00 at 125.00.Thai Airways International edged down 0.30 at 24.60.

JAKARTA: Indonesian shares closed little changed, dealers said.

The Jakarta Composite Index ended up 2.57 points at 2,402.24.

"Profit taking by foreign funds offset earlier gains," a trader said.

Coal miner Bumi closed up 2.6 percent at 7,900 rupiah while rival Bukit Asam was up 7.8 percent at 15,250. Bellwether Telkom fell 2.5 percent at 7,950.

MANILA: Philippine share prices closed 0.8 percent higher, dealers said.

The composite index gained 21.28 points to 2,739.70. The all-share index rose 0.83 percent to 1,711.17 points.

"We went up initially because of the rise in the US (market) but this being a Friday, and the start of a long weekend, I think the rise has been tempered," Rommel Macapagal of Westlink Global Equities told AFP.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) gained 0.39 percent to 2,520 pesos. Ayala Corp. gained 4.03 percent to 322.50 pesos.

San Miguel Corp. A shares rose 1.2 percent to 41.50 pesos. Its B shares were unchanged at 42 pesos.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed 0.22 percent lower, dealers said.

The NZX-50 gross index fell 7.89 points to 3,548.08.

"I think it's general to the market rather than specific to any stock -- just buyer fatigue," said Don Lewthwaite of First NZ Capital.

Telecom fell five cents to 3.86 dollars. Air New Zealand gained a cent to 1.17 dollars after announcing further fare rises and some route changes.

MUMBAI: Indian share prices closed down 1.25 percent, dealers said.

The benchmark Mumbai 30-share Sensex fell 197.54 points to 15,572.18.

"The markets could move sideways due to the impact of rising crude on India's economy," said Prateek Agarwal, head of equities at Bharati AXA Investments.