Asian shares rise, Hong Kong at 7-year high

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & -

Asian mar­kets ral­lied Wed­nes­day, led by an al­most 4 per­cent surge in Hong Kong on its first post-hol­i­day trad­ing day as it re­acted to weak U.S. jobs data that re­duced the chances of a rate rise any time soon.

The Ja­panese cen­tral bank’s de­ci­sion to de­lay any new eas­ing mea­sures pushed the yen up against the dollar, while in­vestors await the re­lease of min­utes from the Fed­eral Re­serve’s lat­est pol­icy meet­ing.

Oil prices ticked lower on prof­ittak­ing in Asia af­ter climb­ing Tues- day to their high­est level of 2015.

Hong Kong, which last traded on Thurs­day, soared 3.80 per­cent, or 961.22 points, to 26,236.86 as main­land deal­ers for the first time hit their daily limit of deals al­lowed in the south­ern Chi­nese city un­der a new stock connect with Shang­hai.

Shang­hai ended 0.84 per­cent, or 33.43 points higher at 3,994.81 and Tokyo added 0.76 per­cent, or 149.27 points, to 19,789.81.

Syd­ney rose 0.59 per­cent, or 34.7 points, to 5,960.7 and Seoul ad­vanced 0.60 per­cent, or 12.23 points, to end at 2,059.26.

Last week’s La­bor De­part- ment data show­ing that the U.S. econ­omy cre­ated fewer jobs in March than it had for more than a year raised ex­pec­ta­tions that rates will be kept low through the sum­mer.

The next fo­cal point is the re­lease later Wed­nes­day of min­utes from the last Fed meet­ing, with deal­ers por­ing over them for clues about when the bank plans to an­nounce a rise.

Hong Kong Ral­lies

“There’s still a lit­tle bit of doubt in the mar­ket as to re­ally where the U.S. econ­omy is, and more im­por- tantly, how the Fed per­ceives the U.S. econ­omy,” Raiko Sha­reef, a mar­kets strate­gist in Welling­ton at Bank of New Zealand, told Bloomberg News. The dollar is “in a lit­tle bit of a hold­ing pat­tern,” he added.

How­ever, deal­ers were cau­tious as Greece faces a Thurs­day dead­line for its next bailout re­pay­ment to the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund. Eu­ro­zone deputy fi­nance min­is­ters will meet on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day to seek agree­ment on Athens’s re­forms needed to un­lock the last tranche of its multi­bil­lion-dollar bailout and avert a de­fault.

In Hong Kong turnover has surged as in­vestors piled in from the main­land af­ter Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties last month said they would ex­pand the num­ber of do­mes­tic fund- man­age­ment firms al­lowed to buy stocks in the city through the “Shang­hai-Hong Kong Stock Connect” scheme.

The move came af­ter a poor start to the much-vaunted scheme, which was launched to much fan­fare in Novem­ber.

Adding fuel to the buy­ing frenzy was a re­cent rally in China that has come on the back of com­ments from Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang sug­gest­ing Bei­jing will an­nounce fresh mon­e­tary eas­ing mea­sures to boost the econ­omy.

On Wall Street Tues­day the Dow edged down 0.03 per­cent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.21 per­cent and the Nas­daq fell 0.14 per­cent.

Also pro­vid­ing sup­port was news that Saudi Ara­bia had raised prices for Asia, cit­ing in­creased de­mand.

Gold fetched US$ 1,210.60 against US$1,212.72 late Tues­day. In other mar­kets: — Sin­ga­pore fell 0.14 per­cent, or 4.94 points, to close at 3,460.68.

— Jakarta closed down 0.66 per­cent, or 36.71 points, to 5,486.58.

— Malaysia’s main in­dex lost 0.33 per­cent, or 6.20 points, to close at 1,850.31.

— Bangkok slipped 0.30 per­cent, or 4.67 points, to close at 1,544.86.

— Mumbai rose 0.67 per­cent, or 191.16 points, to end at 28,707.75.

— Welling­ton was flat, edg­ing up 4.28 points to 5,859.71.

— Manila closed 0.77 per­cent lower, giv­ing up 60.72 points to 8,037.96.

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