Asian shares push higher led by China


Asian shares mainly rose on Mon­day, led by a surge in China as hopes for more mar­ket in­ter­ven­tion and state-backed merg­ers over­shad­owed fresh weak eco­nomic data from the world's num­ber two econ­omy.

Mean­while the dol­lar gained against the yen af­ter up­beat jobs data on Fri­day added to ex­pec­ta­tions the US cen­tral bank will raise in­ter­est rates as early as Septem­ber. Tokyo eq­ui­ties scraped back ear­lier losses to close up 0.41 per­cent and Syd­ney added 0.63 per­cent. Shang­hai led the gains, with shares surg­ing up to 4.5 per­cent by mid-af­ter­noon as spec­u­la­tion the gov­ern­ment will ac­cel­er­ate merg­ers be­tween state-owned en­ter­prises and re­lease new funds to sup­port the mar­ket out­weighed poor trade data.

"The 8.3 per­cent de­cline in China's ex­ports are a key fac­tor, but Chi­nese eq­ui­ties are ral­ly­ing to­day on the idea of fur­ther eas­ing mea­sures," said Chris We­ston at IG Mar­kets. Buck­ing the broad re­gional trend, Hong Kong edged down 0.18 per­cent in af­ter­noon deals, while Seoul closed down 0.35 per­cent.

Chi­nese shares have been on a roller­coaster ride since June, prompt­ing Bei­jing to un­leash an un­prece­dented wave of mea­sures to re­as­sure in­vestors af­ter the mar­ket col­lapsed by some 30 per­cent in un­der a month.

Stocks surged for a sec­ond day af­ter China's se­cu­ri­ties reg­u­la­tor late on Fri­day, in a fresh move, said it had called on se­cu­ri­ties bro­kers and fund man­agers to help sta­bilise the mar­ket.

Shares in Chi­nese ship­builders also got a boost on Mon­day from re­ports Bei­jing plans to merge China Ship­ping Group and Cosco Group amid a broader over­haul of in­ef­fi­cient state-run com­pa­nies, Bloomberg News re­ported. China Ship­build­ing In­dus­try jumped 9.8 per­cent in Shang­hai, while China CSSC Hold­ings was up by the max­i­mum 10 per­cent. In­dus­tri­als China CSSC Hold­ings Ltd. and China First Heavy In­dus­tries both also got a boost, ris­ing 10 per­cent.

"State owned en­ter­prise merg­ers are an in­vest­ment theme that's quite cer­tain and there are signs that the move will speed up," Li Jingyuan, a gen­eral man­ager at Shang­hai Zhaoyi As­set Man­age­ment, told Bloomberg News. "For­eign in­vestors pay more at­ten­tion to eco­nomic data and fun­da­men­tals, while lo­cal in­vestors are more sen­si­tive to poli­cies."

The gains came af­ter trade data show­ing China's ex­ports plunged 8.3 per­cent from a year ear­lier, while im­ports dropped 8.1 per­cent, added to con­cerns over the health of Asia's largest econ­omy. Bei­jing on Sun­day said in­fla­tion rose 1.6 per­cent in July, well be­low the gov­ern­ment's an­nual tar­get of three per­cent, while pro­ducer prices de­clined to their low­est level since late 2009. The news will likely hit com­modi­ties and par­tic­u­larly base met­als, an­a­lysts said, which plumbed to mul­ti­year lows last week over signs de­mand is wan­ing in mas­sive im­porter China. Higher rates tend to push up the US cur­rency, which in turn makes dol­lar-priced com­modi­ties less at­trac­tive to in­ter­na­tional in­vestors and so dents prices. In in­di­vid­ual stocks, Ja­pan Dis­play jumped 13.6 per­cent to 426 yen af­ter the smart­phone screen­maker re­ported up­beat earn­ings af­ter mar­kets closed Fri­day.

Taipei rose 0.29 per­cent, or 24.55 points, to 8,466.84. Tai­wan Semi­con­duc­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Co shed 3.01 per­cent to Tw$129.0 while Fubon Fi­nan­cial Hold­ing gained 2.11 per­cent to Tw$58.2. In Welling­ton, the NZX50 was flat, edg­ing down 3.64 points to 5,865.02. Con­tact Energy rose 0.78 per­cent to NZ$5.19 while Auck­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port was down 3.05 per­cent at NZ$5.245.

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