HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Most Asian markets ended the last trading day of the third quarter on an upbeat note Friday, encouraged by Spain’s budget proposals and optimism that Chinese policy makers would act to support the economy.
The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 -4.04% finished 1.5% higher a day after it soared 2.6% to cheer a large liquidity injection by the country’s central bank.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.90% , South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -3.30% and Taiwan’s Taiex each put on 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -3.25% edged up 0.1%.
/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed SHCOMP 2,880.69, -110.64, -3.70%
/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HSI 26,000.86, -777.76, -2.90%
Stock markets are closed the whole of next week on mainland China, and through Tuesday in Hong Kong, for holidays.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.67% declined 0.9% on weak monthly industrial production data and amid concerns about the fallout from the country’s territorial dispute with China.
The day’s broad advance came after the Spanish government said it expected to meet the 2012 budget-deficit goal of 6.3% and set a deficit target of 4.5% for 2013. Borrowing costs in Spain eased after the announcement. See: Spain presents budget, sees mild 2013 recession.
“After much anticipation over the Spanish budget, the announcement came in line with expectations, but the details were rather skimpy. The outline to the structural reforms was delivered, but the details have yet to be announced,” said Mary Nicola, strategist at BNP Paribas.
Europe-related fears have eased in recent weeks after the European Central Bank’s president pledged to do whatever it takes to keep the currency region together. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing has also offered some reassurance to global investors.
The day’s performance added to a solid quarterly advance for many regional markets, with the benchmark indexes in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and South Korea ending the July to September period with gains of between 5.7% and 7.7%.
Chinese and Japanese shares lost ground during the period, however. The Shanghai Composite sank 6.3% amid worries about the economic outlook and as investors waited for fresh stimulus measures from Beijing, while the Nikkei Average slid 1.5% on concerns about the yen’s strength and the territorial dispute with China.
Some analysts looked ahead to the fourth quarter with a sense of caution.
“After a strong rise from the June quarter lows, global share markets have been more cautious in recent weeks as investors alternate between being concerned about the global outlook and signs that trouble is brewing in Europe again, and being optimistic about the extraordinary actions of central banks,” said Matthew Sherwood, head of investment-market research at Perpetual.
“[They] seem reluctant to push the rally any higher and will need signs that the economic recovery is accelerating to move market indices beyond current levels,” said Sherwood.
Cricket match in the sea
Once a year, the English Channel hosts the unusual sight of cricket players playing in the middle of the sea, when the tide recedes low enough at one point to allow players to slosh about with their bats.