By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Asian equity markets mostly rose Thursday after Washington lawmakers voted to reopen the U.S. government and raise the debt ceiling.
President Barack Obama signed the legislation passed by Congress late Wednesday to restore federal operations, fund the government through Jan. 15, and to raise the debt limit until Feb. 7. The House passed the Senate-crafted bill by a 285-to-144 margin. Many federal employees returned to their positions Thursday.
Investors worldwide had been concerned that the U.S. could default on its debt obligations, resulting in a disruption of business activity and long-running efforts to encourage global economic growth.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.32% rose 119.37, or 0.8%, to 14,586.51. The export-heavy market was aided by the yen’s pullback against the U.S. dollar, which took strength from Washington’s agreement.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.29% picked up 6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,040.61, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.21% closed 0.4% higher, adding 20.20 points to 5,283.10.
But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.04% dipped 133.45 points, or 0.6%, to 23,094.88, and the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.06% dipped 4.53 points, or 0.2%, to 2,188.54.
Now that Washington’s latest showdown is over, the “focus will soon turn to the delayed [U.S.] data releases and the economic implication of shutdown,” wrote Crédit Agricole analyst Gary Yau in a note. “The fact that the same scenarios could happen again in a few months’ time will also play in investors’ minds, but nevertheless, we expect market tone to improve over the near term.”
The widely watched monthly U.S. jobs report is among the data that weren’t released during the 16-day government shutdown. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will need three days to complete September’s report, said Crédit Agricole. That may result in it being issued by next Tuesday.
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Among the advancers, shares of Fujitsu Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208459594/delayed JP:6702 +0.67% /zigman2/quotes/208783738/delayed FJTSY +1.23% topped advancers as they tacked on 5.7%, and Mazda Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204777714/delayed JP:7261 +2.15% /zigman2/quotes/206646681/delayed MZDAF -9.84% rose 3.4%.
Also higher were shares of Kansai Electric Power Co. /zigman2/quotes/200592152/delayed JP:9503 +2.05% , rising 2.8% after the utility swung to a first-half pretax profit of 31 billion yen ($314 million).
Hong Kong advancers included ZTE Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205359573/delayed HK:763 +0.45% /zigman2/quotes/205386796/delayed ZTCOY +1.99% , which traded 3% higher after announcing it had garnered a “more-than-60% share of the contracts in China Mobile’s group tender for 100G Optical Transport Networking products for 2013, exceeding the combined total of all other vendors.”
Finance shares turned lower, with China’s central bank ready to take out 44.5 billion yuan ($7.3 billion) from the banking system this week though regular open-market operations, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Shares of Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 +1.25% /zigman2/quotes/201568493/delayed BACHY +1.56% lost 0.8%, while Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200705246/delayed HK:1288 +3.33% /zigman2/quotes/209398792/delayed ACGBF -3.11% fell 1.4%.
In Sydney, shares of Newcrest Mining Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203840223/delayed AU:NCM +1.27% /zigman2/quotes/206026738/delayed NCMGF +4.04% underperformed the broader market, falling 0.6% after the gold producer said it faces about 120 million Australian dollars ($115 million) in extra tax charges this fiscal year.