Bulletin
Investor Alert

Asia Markets

Oct. 4, 2020, 11:23 p.m. EDT

Japan’s Nikkei gets the week off to a strong start as stocks in Asia rally early Monday

By MarketWatch, MarketWatch


iStockphoto

Stocks rallied in Asia early Monday, with Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng indexes leading the way. Australian stocks were also strong.

Japanese stocks (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   were broadly higher thanks partly to a weaker yen after the news of President Trump’s infection with coronavirus dented the market on Friday. Auto, railway and financial stocks topped the gainers. Automaker Subaru Corp. (TKS:JP:7270)   is up 4.7%, Central Japan Railway (TKS:JP:9022)   is 4.1% higher and Dai-ichi Life Holdings (TKS:JP:8750)   is up 4.9%.

The U.S. dollar was fetching 105.56 Japanese yen (XTUP:USDJPY)  , up from 105.09 as of Friday’s Tokyo stock market close. U.S. and Japan policy developments are being closely watched. The Nikkei Stock Average is up 1.3% early.

The Hang Seng (HONG:HK:HSI)   was ahead just over 1.5% in initial trading.

Tech stocks are among the best performers, with Tencent Holdings (HKG:HK:700)   rising 2.8%, Xiaomi Corp. (HKG:HK:1810)   gaining 1.5% and Sunny Optical Technology up 0.5% (HKG:HK:2382)  . Property stocks are also higher, with Hang Lung Properties (HKG:HK:101)   gaining 2.7%, Henderson Land Development (HKG:HK:12)   rising 1.8% and Sun Hung Kai Properties (HKG:HK:16)   up 0.7%. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (HKG:HK:981)   is down 4.5% after saying that export controls imposed by the U.S. could have an adverse impact on its operations.

But Hong Kong-listed casino operators may remain under pressure as Macau’s Golden Week visitor data disappoint, Jefferies says. Visitor numbers to the special administrative region for the first three days of China’s weeklong holiday were 13% of 2019 levels due to lengthier visa approvals and stringent requirements for a negative virus test, the bank says.

Australia’s benchmark stock index shot up more than 2% early Monday as analysts saw reason for optimism in the country’s retail sales data. Excluding Victoria state, where there were strict lockdown measures, August sales seemed better, posting growth of 13% compared with 15% in July.

Stock valuations for many Aussie retailers are already pricing in strong sales, so investors should choose exposures carefully, UBS says. The bank favors retailers with attractive valuations, those that might benefit from the coronavirus situation because they have a strong online presence, or those with longer-term growth opportunities.

It names Woolworths (ASX:AU:WOW)  , Harvey Norman (ASX:AU:HVN)  , Adairs (ASX:AU:ADH)  , Metcash (ASX:AU:MTS)  , Bapcor (ASX:AU:BAP)   and Collins (ASX:AU:CKF)   UBS notes that nationwide August retail spending growth slowed to 7%, compared with 12% in July.

New Zealand’s NZX-50 (NZE:NZ:NZ50GR)   edged slightly higher in early trading. Gains are driven by a2 Milk (NZE:NZ:ATM)  , Synlait Milk (NZE:NZ:SML)  , Ryman Healthcare (NZE:NZ:RYM)  , Auckland International Airport and Port of Tauranga. Infant formula marketing company a2 Milk rose 0.7% after falling nearly 18% last week on a downgraded earnings outlook for FY 2021. Property for Industry was ups 1.5% after adding a NZ$65 million industrial estate in Auckland to its portfolio of commercial tenants.

The story was compiled from Dow Jones Newswires and Associated Press reports.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.