Asian shares up, Shang­hai soars on China hopes

The China Post - - MARKETS -

Ris­ing cor­po­rate prof­its and a jump in oil prices helped push the stock mar­ket to a mod­est gain on Wed­nes­day.

For in­vestors, any good news comes as a wel­come sur­prise this earn­ings sea­son, which is widely ex­pected to be the worst in years. An­a­lysts pre­dict that com­pa­nies in the S& P 500 will re­port a 3 per­cent drop in prof­its. Most of the blame lies with the slump in oil prices over the past year, which has squeezed oil and gas com­pa­nies, and a strong dollar, which di­min­ishes the value of prof­its earned abroad when they’re brought back home.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex rose 10.79 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to close at 2,106.63. Transocean, an op­er­a­tor of drilling rigs, soared 10 per­cent, the big­gest gain in the in­dex.

The Dow Jones industrial av­er­age rose 75.91 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 18,112.61, while the Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 33.73 points, or 0.7 per­cent, to 5,011.02.

Ma­jor mar­kets in Europe ended the day mixed. Ger­many’s DAX fin­ished flat while France’s CAC- 40 gained 0.7 per­cent. The United King­dom’s FTSE 100 in- dex of lead­ing shares added 0.3 per­cent.

Min­utes af­ter be­ing forced from the stage by a pro­tester, Mario Draghi, the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, in­di­cated that the bank will stick with its monthly pur­chases of bonds. A re­cent run of solid eco­nomic data fed spec­u­la­tion that the ECB will ease the pace of its bond- buy­ing, aimed at spurring eco­nomic growth. His brief­ing came af­ter the bank kept its main in­ter­est rate un­changed at a record low of 0.05 per­cent.

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U. S., Bank

of Amer­ica turned in a quar­terly profit fol­low­ing a big loss a year ago as it put some of its legal trou­bles be­hind it. But rev­enue re­mained flat for its main busi­nesses. The bank’s stock dropped 18 cents, or 1 per­cent, to US$ 15.64.

Asian mar­kets rose Thurs­day, with Shang­hai ral­ly­ing on hopes for fur­ther China stim­u­lus while Ja­panese shares were boosted by a weaker yen as the dollar reversed ear­lier losses.

Shang­hai surged 2.71 per­cent, or 110.66 points, to 4,194.82 and Hong Kong gained 0.44 per­cent, or 120.89 points, to 27,739.71.

Tokyo bounced from a morni ng sell- off to end slightly higher, gain­ing 16.01 points to 19,885.77.

Syd­ney ad­vanced 0.66 per­cent, or 39.08 points, to close at 5,947.5 af­ter a bet­ter- thanex­pected un­em­ploy­ment read­ing for March, while Seoul rose 0.94 per­cent, or 19.94 points, to 2,139.90.

Hong Kong’s bourse con­tin­ued its rally af­ter soar­ing over the past week with record turnover as main­land in­vestors look for cheap as­sets in the city fol­low­ing a year- long rally in Shang­hai that al­most dou­bled its value.

Chi­nese in­vestors have been flood­ing into stocks — us­ing a link- up be­tween the Hong Kong and Shang­hai ex­changes — on ex­pec­ta­tions China will ramp up its stim­u­lus pro­gram to sup­port the strug­gling econ­omy, which in Jan­uary- March grew at its slow­est pace in six years.

Pre­cious and industrial met­als traded higher. Gold rose US$ 8.70 to set­tle at US$ 1,201.30 an ounce, while sil­ver rose 12 cents to US$ 16.28 an ounce. Cop­per picked up a penny to US$ 2.71 a pound.

In other mar­kets:

— Bangkok rose 1.43 per­cent, or 22.17 points, to 1,570.00

— Sin­ga­pore fell 0.24 per­cent, or 8.34 points, to close at 3,531.61.

— Malaysia’s main in­dex gained 0.42 per­cent, or 7.81 points, to close at 1,847.94.

— Jakarta ended up 0.11 per­cent, or 6.19 points, at 5,420.73.

— Mumbai fell 0.46 per­cent, or 133.65 points, to end at 28,666.04.

— Welling­ton rose 0.44 per­cent or 26.68 points to 5,881.76.

— Manila closed 0.53 per­cent higher, adding 41.74 points to 7,948.20.

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