HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Asian markets barreled higher Friday after a strong lead from Wall Street in the wake of upbeat U.S. economic data, with Tokyo and Hong Kong stocks leading the way.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -1.53% rose 1.2% to return above the 9,000 level, buoyed by the yen’s weakness amid expectations the Bank of Japan may further expanded its asset-purchase program.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.55% advanced 1.3% to top the 22,000-point level, a day after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority again intervened to curb the local currency’s strength against the U.S. dollar amid fund inflows following the Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing.
158,000 U.S. jobs added in October
The ADP reports relatively robust hiring last month in the U.S. private sector, but a change to methodology makes economists wary. Photo: AP Images.
“The fact that the Bank of Japan forecasts inflation to stay below its 1% target in 2014 suggests more easing will follow. For the rest of Asia, this means another wave of liquidity washing up on its shores,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC.
“Just like the flood of dollars, those extra yen being thrown around will also have a major effect on emerging Asia,” he said.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.71% added 1.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -1.17% finished 0.6% higher, though Australian stocks lagged behind. The S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -1.93% rose 0.1%, weighed by weakness in retailer shares.
The gains across Asia followed a Wall Street rally overnight, with investors positioning themselves ahead of closely watched U.S. employment data due later in the day.
The S&P 500 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.38% jumped 1.1% Thursday, after strong domestic data combined with encouraging manufacturing numbers from China to boost confidence in the global economy. Read: U.S. stocks rally after upbeat economic data.
U.S. data are due to stay in the global spotlight with the nation’s October jobs report due out later in the day. The results will also likely have an outsized political impact ahead of next Tuesday’s presidential election. Read: U.S. jobless rate is presidential concern.
The day’s rally added to the weekly gains for most regional indexes, with the S&P/ASX 200 — which ended the week with a 0.3% loss — one exception. The Hang Seng Index rose 2.6% and the Shanghai Composite advanced 2.5% during the week, while the Kospi added 1.4% and the Nikkei rose 1.3%.
In Tokyo, many tech and industrial shares followed their U.S. peers higher, getting an addition boost from the dollar’s return above the 80-yen level, helping these export-focused firms. Tokyo Electron Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202883609/delayed JP:8035 -4.62% /zigman2/quotes/200298228/composite TOELF -1.32% added 1%, while Fanuc Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202054799/delayed JP:6954 -1.01% /zigman2/quotes/206262686/composite FANUF -7.41% jumped 3.8%.
Sony Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -2.29% /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE +0.68% also posted solid gains, rising 2.1% after narrowing its July-September loss to ¥15.5 billion ($194 million) from ¥27 billion a year earlier. The company kept its outlook for a fiscal-year profit unchanged. Read: Sony net loss narrows to ¥15.5 billion.
Shares of Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +4.77% /zigman2/quotes/207472799/composite SHCAF +5.20% , however, sank 2.4% after swinging to a quarterly loss, increasing its full-year loss projection and warning about worries about its future as a going concern.
Panasonic Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed JP:6752 -4.41% slipped 0.7%, adding to its 19.5% tumble the previous day in reaction to a heavy quarterly loss.
/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed 6753 2,350.00, +107.00, +4.77%
/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed NIK 28,197.42, -437.79, -1.53%
The rally in Hong Kong was spread across sectors, with heavyweight banking major HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 -2.81% climbing 1.8%, while foods company Want Want China Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203844092/delayed HK:151 +6.26% rose 4% and casino operator Sands China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207609245/delayed HK:1928 +0.32% /zigman2/quotes/201078396/composite SCHYY +1.09% soared 6.3%.
Over in Shanghai, construction and property stocks advanced, with some paring or reversing losses seen earlier in the day. Shares of Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co. /zigman2/quotes/209732557/delayed CN:600246 +2.92% rising 3.8%, China Railway Construction Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202453937/delayed CN:601186 -1.64% climbing 2.4% and Gemdale Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208026094/delayed CN:600383 -1.50% gaining 1.9%.
As in Tokyo, tech exporters staged a strong advance in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics Co. /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -2.22% /zigman2/quotes/202367843/composite SSNLF 0.00% adding 2.3%, rival SK Hynix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 -4.28% climbing 1.8%, and LG Display Co. /zigman2/quotes/204226570/delayed KR:034220 +0.44% /zigman2/quotes/204466928/composite LPL +4.29% improving by 3.8%.
Asian car makers also enjoyed gains after healthy U.S. sales numbers.
Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -1.74% /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM +0.06% rose 1.6%, after posting a 16% gain in U.S. sales for October, even after announcing a 44% tumble in its China sales earlier on Thursday.
Among its rivals, Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -1.57% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +0.26% rallied 3.3%, and Nissan Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/207656007/composite NSANY +4.60% /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +1.83% jumped 2.1% despite a 3% drop in its own U.S. sales. Read: Sandy nips auto sales growth.
But in Seoul, Hyundai Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/206684590/delayed KR:005380 -2.85% /zigman2/quotes/204364212/composite HYMTF +0.48% fell 0.5% as its U.S. numbers disappointed. Its shares had tumbled 3.8% on Thursday amid market speculation about a possible recall.
In Australia, early gains faded as weakness for most retailers offset gains in the top-weighted miners.
The largest mining names rebounded sharply from previous-session losses after gains from U.S. materials stocks. BHP Billiton Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP -1.71% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP +0.58% rose 1.8%, Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -2.86% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO -0.08% climbed 2%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202351558/delayed AU:FMG -4.01% /zigman2/quotes/204116626/composite FSUMF -2.45% added 0.5%.