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Jan. 13, 2012, 3:32 a.m. EST

Asia stocks mostly rise as Europe jitters ease

Shanghai and Shenzhen benchmarks tumble after forex data

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By Sarah Turner and V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Most Asian markets rose on Friday as successful Italian and Spanish bond auctions and comments from the European Central Bank helped alleviate concerns about the region’s debt crisis.

Mainland Chinese stocks, which tumbled after data showing a drop in fourth-quarter foreign exchange reserves, were a notable exception.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.33%  jumped 1.4% to 8,500.02, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.33%  gained 0.6% to 1,875.68, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.34%  rose 0.4% to 4,195.90 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.01% gained 0.6% to 19,204.42.

Click to Play

ECB, BOE leave rates unchanged

The European Central Bank left its key interest rates unchanged, pausing after two consecutive rate cuts.

“Overseas equity markets fared quite well because of the sovereign-bond sales in Italy and Spain that saw related bond yields coming down. That helped to ease the fears about the euro debt crisis,” said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia in Hong Kong.

On mainland Chinese bourses, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -1.22%  sank 1.3% to 2,244.58, while the Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 3.5% to 845.93. Taiwan’s Taiex slipped 0.1% to 7,181.54 on caution ahead of Presidential elections over the weekend.

The broad regional gains came as U.S. stocks ended with modest gains Thursday. The euro also appreciated versus the dollar after successful Spanish and Italian bond auctions, reflecting positive investor sentiment. Read more on U.S, equity markets.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comment that the bloc’s debt markets seem to have stabilized also helped sentiment, strategists said. Read more on ECB meeting.

Several mining and metals shares climbed in Asia after a softer dollar pushed commodity prices higher on Thursday.

Shares of Pacific Metals Co. /zigman2/quotes/203626509/delayed PFMTF 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/209253802/delayed JP:5541 +0.91%  jumped 4.5% in Tokyo, Rio Tinto Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +1.70% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +1.39%  added 0.7% in Sydney and Korea Zinc Co.  climbed 3.6% in Seoul. In Hong Kong, Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite ACH +2.90% /zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed HK:2600 +1.23%  added 2.2% and Maanshan Iron & Steel Co. /zigman2/quotes/205365330/delayed HK:323 -1.95% /zigman2/quotes/202183707/delayed MAANF 0.00%  gained 3.5%.

Shares of Inpex Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 +3.01%   /zigman2/quotes/207958170/delayed IPXHY +1.18%  climbed 1.2% after the Japanese energy producers and French partner Total SA /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:FP -0.43% /zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite TOT +1.32%  gave the go-ahead to a massive $34 billion Ichthys natural gas-export project in Australia. See report on Inpex-Total approval of Ichthys.

Many of the region’s exporters also climbed, with those in Japan rising as the euro climbed above the 98-yen level. Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -0.10% /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC +1.19%  rose 3.4% and Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +0.48% /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF +2.67% closed 2% higher.

Mainland Chinese stocks fell sharply after data showed the country’s foreign-exchange reserves fell by $20.6 billion in the fourth quarter to $3.18 trillion amid a shrinking trade surplus and worries about foreign exchange outflows.

“Analysts will jump to conclude that there must be big capital flight in the fourth quarter,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Ting Lu said in a note following the data release, adding that such a direct interpretation might “overstate the size of capital flight.” Read more on China's reserves.

Shares of Anhui Conch Cement Co. /zigman2/quotes/204422624/delayed CN:600585 +2.27%  dropped 4.6%, electrical appliances distributor Qingdao Haier Co. /zigman2/quotes/200743595/delayed CN:600690 -1.00% fell 4.3% and SAIC Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/201442870/delayed CN:600104 -0.31%  declined 3.9%.

Some analysts remained optimistic that Beijing will relax its monetary policy stance to support economic growth.

“Markets still have the expectation that the [Chinese] central bank will still lower the reserve requirement ratio either before or after the Lunar New Year,” said KGI’s Kwong, referring to Chinese holiday which begins this year on Jan. 23.

In Hong Kong, footwear retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200535012/delayed BELLF +35.06%  plunged 6.9% on disappointment over its fourth-quarter same-store sales growth.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
23,430.70
+76.30 +0.33%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 9, 2019 3:15p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,088.65
+6.80 +0.33%
Volume: 385,447
Dec. 9, 2019 3:30p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,730.00
+23.00 +0.34%
Volume: 505,303
Dec. 9, 2019 4:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
26,494.73
-3.64 -0.01%
Volume: 1.30M
Dec. 9, 2019 4:08p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 15.41
-0.19 -1.22%
Volume: 60.60M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.23
Dividend Yield
0.94%
Market Cap
¥267.86 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.12M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203626509/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.00
0.00 0.00%
Volume:
P/E Ratio
0.00
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209253802/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,430.00
+22.00 +0.91%
Volume: 189,700
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
35.45
Dividend Yield
2.06%
Market Cap
¥46.97 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥103.77M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 97.42
+1.63 +1.70%
Volume: 1.16M
Dec. 9, 2019 4:10p
P/E Ratio
8.88
Dividend Yield
9.21%
Market Cap
$155.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.14M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 55.37
+0.76 +1.39%
Volume: 839,835
Dec. 6, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
7.03
Dividend Yield
5.98%
Market Cap
$69.75 billion
Rev. per Employee
$852,406
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208051344/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 7.81
+0.22 +2.90%
Volume: 37,552
Dec. 6, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
344.05
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1.23 billion
Rev. per Employee
$387,394
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202960704/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 2.46
+0.03 +1.23%
Volume: 5.52M
Dec. 9, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
341.67
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$41.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.03M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205365330/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 3.02
-0.06 -1.95%
Volume: 2.41M
Dec. 9, 2019 4:08p
P/E Ratio
11.18
Dividend Yield
11.68%
Market Cap
HK$23.72 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$3.38M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202183707/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.40
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 29, 2019 9:31a
P/E Ratio
11.45
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$3.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
$430,961
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,096.50
+32.00 +3.01%
Volume: 5.86M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.17
Dividend Yield
2.46%
Market Cap
¥1554.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥291.81M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207958170/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 9.89
+0.12 +1.18%
Volume: 1,318
Dec. 6, 2019 3:58p
P/E Ratio
12.04
Dividend Yield
1.55%
Market Cap
$14.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.64M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
47.75
-0.21 -0.43%
Volume: 235,205
Dec. 9, 2019 9:29a
P/E Ratio
14.58
Dividend Yield
5.70%
Market Cap
€124.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
€1.59M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 52.98
+0.69 +1.32%
Volume: 1.30M
Dec. 6, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
14.40
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$137.62 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.87M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 3,141.00
-3.00 -0.10%
Volume: 2.40M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
10.55
Dividend Yield
3.57%
Market Cap
¥5532.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥73.06M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 29.01
+0.34 +1.19%
Volume: 498,132
Dec. 6, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
10.70
Dividend Yield
3.02%
Market Cap
$51.05 billion
Rev. per Employee
$661,808
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,676.00
+8.00 +0.48%
Volume: 1.39M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
17.70
Dividend Yield
1.49%
Market Cap
¥1018.89 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥50.23M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 15.38
+0.40 +2.67%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 4, 2019 5:19p
P/E Ratio
17.93
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$9.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
$454,670
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204422624/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 48.19
+1.07 +2.27%
Volume: 24.40M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
7.76
Dividend Yield
3.51%
Market Cap
¥249.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.89M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200743595/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 16.88
-0.17 -1.00%
Volume: 42.40M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.19
Dividend Yield
2.08%
Market Cap
¥109.37 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥2.28M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201442870/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 22.68
-0.07 -0.31%
Volume: 17.23M
Dec. 9, 2019 3:00p
P/E Ratio
9.10
Dividend Yield
5.56%
Market Cap
¥265.80 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥5.14M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200535012/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 0.77
+0.20 +35.06%
Volume: 500.00
July 5, 2017 12:00a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau.

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