21 Nov Asian stocks rise on encouraging economic news
Japan stocks were a bright spot Monday as a weak yen and decent economic data boosted Tokyo-traded shares. Regional shares were generally strong amid signs that money was coming back to emerging Asia.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.77% was up 0.7%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.06% was up 0.3%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.15% was about flat and Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.79% rose 0.9%.
“It does look like the U.S. rally was overcooked,” said Alex Furber, sales trader at CMC Markets. We might see flows back to Asia, he said.
Japan’s economy grew an annualized 2.2% in the three months through September, beating economists’ expectations.
Japan’s exports fell 10.3% in October from a year earlier, figures released Monday by the Ministry of Finance showed. The reading came in worse than a 9.4% drop forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. But exports appear to be in better shape than in the spring, when Japan’s manufacturers were being buffeted by worries over a Chinese slowdown and other headwinds from abroad.
Regional currencies broadly fell against the U.S. dollar.
The Philippine peso was off 0.5%, the Malaysian ringgit fell 0.3% and the South Korean won slipped 0.4%.
The People’s Bank of China set the yuan weaker again — by 0.3% — against the U.S. dollar Monday. This was the 12th straight fixing lower.
The slow drip of yuan weakening is weighing on Hong Kong-listed China shares, said Erwin Sanft, head of China strategy for Macquarie. “The [Chinese] economy has stabilized and we’ve moved out of deflation. So the fundamental trends are good. The main headwind is the currency,” said Sanft.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.16% strengthened to ¥111.08, down slightly from its earlier trade Monday of ¥111.12, the highest level since May 31.
China’s equities markets opened higher, as investors expected domestic insurers would put more money into stocks. Insurance, shipping manufacturing and construction stocks led gains in the benchmark Shanghai Composite.
The Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.43% was down 0.2% amid political turmoil in South Korea. South Korea President Park Geun-hye helped a longtime friend extort money from corporations and allowed her to receive classified documents, prosecutors said Sunday. The claims are the first formal accusations of wrongdoing against the president. The scandal has paralyzed her government and triggered the nation’s largest-ever street demonstrations calling for her ouster.
Looking ahead, there will be data coming out this week from the U.S. including durable goods and home sales.
Investors are also watching out for the launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong trading link, which will open about 880 Shenzhen stocks to offshore funds. Launch is believed to be imminent.
In Japan, electronics parts maker Murata Manufacturing 6981, +2.46% was up 3% and semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics 6723, +1.72% gained 1.9%. Japanese energy stocks were also higher on hopes for a deal to cut crude oil output. Inpex 1605, +3.15% was 2.9% higher.