An earlier version of this story misstated the direction of Australian stocks in the last three days and Honda’s U.S. sales growth in January. The story has been corrected.
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian markets were powered on Thursday by commodity and financial stocks after an improvement in manufacturing data buoyed global equities, with Australian stocks snapping out of a three-day losing streak.
“Risky assets and cyclical currencies are reacting positively to resilient activity in China, signs of stabilization in Europe, and the ongoing recovery in the U.S,” said Julian Callow, economist at Barclays Capital.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.47% added 2% to 20,739.45, while the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +3.21% ended at 2,312.56, also jumping 2%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.32% finished the day with a 1% advance to 4,267.80 and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.18% added 0.8% to 8,876.82. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.26% gained 1.3% to 1,984.30, while Taiwan’s Taiex rose 1.4% to 7,652.46.
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The rally in Asia came after stronger U.K., European Union and U.S. manufacturing surveys Wednesday. Read U.S. Market Snapshot.
U.S. stocks rose overnight, also buoyed amid expectations that Facebook would announce details of its initial public offering. After the closing bell, the firm filed for an initial public offering potentially worth $5 billion, in what is likely to be the biggest-ever debut for an Internet stock. Read more on Facebook IPO filing.
Kun Lung Wu, research analyst at Credit Suisse, said that the recent pick-up in manufacturing surveys in a large part of the world supports the broker’s view that Asian economic growth bottomed around the turn of the year.
“We believe a likely fall in inflation in a large part of Asia and an improvement in [gross domestic product] growth bode well for the performance of the region’s equity markets and currencies against the U.S. dollar,” Wu said.
Commodity-related firms were higher as the manufacturing data worked to soothe worries about the trajectory of global growth and subsequent commodity demand.
BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +1.31% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -1.41% rose 1.9% and Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +1.27% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO -0.46% added 2.9% in Sydney.
In Hong Kong, Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite ACH -0.17% , or Chalco, rose 3.8% and oil major Cnooc Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -0.84% /zigman2/quotes/204964401/composite CEO -1.34% rallied 4.1%; in Shanghai, shares of shares of Chalco /zigman2/quotes/210453246/delayed CN:601600 +2.98% added 2.2%, Jiangxi /zigman2/quotes/204256025/composite JIXAY +37.29% /zigman2/quotes/201334192/delayed CN:600362 +6.67% jumped 4% and Zhongjin Gold Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207741711/delayed CN:600489 +1.89% climbed 3.3%.
Many Japanese car makers sped higher, including Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +0.24% /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.56% , which rose 1.8% after reporting a 7.5% gain in January U.S. sales. Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +0.89% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -0.84% climbed 1.8% after posting a 8.8% U.S. sales increase. See report on U.S. January car sales.
In the banking sector, Japanese banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207520099/delayed JP:8306 -0.07% /zigman2/quotes/206275740/composite MBFJF +6.25% jumped 2.5% after reporting a 48% increase in its nine-month net profit, while Nomura Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed JP:8604 -1.67% /zigman2/quotes/207276383/composite NMR -1.41% surged 7.1% after reporting a surprise profit of its own. See report on Nomura earnings.
Other Tokyo-listed financials on the rise included Daiwa Securities Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201391978/delayed JP:8601 -0.60% /zigman2/quotes/206649614/composite DSECF -9.20% with a 4.5% gain, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203656770/delayed JP:8316 +0.13% /zigman2/quotes/200154024/composite SMFNF +1.90% , which rose 2.1%.
In Hong Kong, heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 +0.16% rose 3.2%, while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 +0.24% /zigman2/quotes/204265987/composite IDCBF -3.39% climbed 3.5%.
Meanwhile, shares of Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +1.88% /zigman2/quotes/207472799/composite SHCAF +2.69% were hammered down 15.9% in Tokyo after the Japanese consumer-electronics group said that it expected a record net loss of 290 billion yen ($3.81 billion) for the current fiscal year. See report on Sharp’s quarterly loss.
Rival Sony Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +2.35% /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE +1.74% — which announced late Wednesday that Chief Executive Howard Stringer would be replaced by Kazuo Hirai — fell 2.6%. See report on Sony’s management change.
Sony shares didn’t start trading until around midday due to technical problems on the Tokyo bourse that forced a halt for 241 listed stocks. See report on Tokyo Stock Exchange’s technical problems.