Asian shares push higher, led by China main­land


Asian shares mainly rose on Mon­day, led by a surge in main­land 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 U.S. dol­lar gained against the yen af­ter up­beat jobs data on Fri­day added to ex­pec­ta­tions the U.S. 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 clos­ing up 4.92 per­cent on spec­u­la­tion the gov­ern­ment will ac­cel­er­ate merg­ers be­tween state- owned en­ter­prises and re­lease new funds to sup­port the mar­ket.

“Though the econ­omy as a whole is not per­form­ing quite well, it may lead to more loos­en­ing of mon­e­tary pol­icy,” Zhang Qi, an an­a­lyst from Haitong Se­cu­ri­ties, told AFP.

“There might also be more state in­vest­ment and re­form of sta­te­owned en­ter­prises.”

Hong Kong clawed back early losses to end the day down 0.13 per­cent, while Seoul bucked the re­gional trend to close 0.35 per­cent lower.

Bei­jing has un­leashed un­prece­dented mea­sures to sup­port eq­ui­ties — in­clud­ing a crack­down on short­selling, sus­pen­sion of new of­fer­ings and a ban on ma­jor share­hold­ers selling their stakes — since the mar- ket col­lapsed in mid-July.

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

Re­ports that Bei­jing plans to merge two ma­jor ship­ping com­pa­nies, China Ship­ping Group and Cosco Group, also stirred spec­u­la­tion it could her­ald a shake up of the coun­try’s in­ef­fi­cient state-owned en­ter­prises.

The news drove state-backed com­pa­nies higher — China Ship­build­ing In­dus­try Co., China Coal Energy Co., and China United Net­work Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ltd. all surged by the 10 per­cent daily limit.

Rail­way firms also gained. In Shang­hai, China Rail­way Con­struc- tion soared 9.49 per­cent to 18.34 yuan while China Rail­way Erju also climbed 8.31 per­cent to 17.07 yuan.

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.

The news will likely hit com­modi­ties and par­tic­u­larly base met­als, an­a­lysts said, which plumbed to multi-year lows last week over signs de­mand is wan­ing in mas­sive im­porter China.

Higher rates tend to push up the U.S. cur­rency, which in turn makes dol­lar-priced com­modi­ties less at­trac­tive to in­ter­na­tional in­vestors and so dents prices.

Gold fetched US$1,094.78, slightly higher than US$1,089.64 late Fri­day and above last week’s nadir of US$1,072.34 — its low­est level since Fe­bru­ary 2010.

In in­di­vid­ual stocks, U.S.-listed Chi­nese In­ter­net gi­ant Alibaba is to pay 28.3 bil­lion yuan ( US$4.6 bil­lion) for a nearly 20 per­cent stake in con­sumer elec­tron­ics re­tailer Sun­ing, the two com­pa­nies said in a state­ment Mon­day.

In Tokyo, shares in Ja­pan Dis­play jumped 13.6 per­cent to 426 yen af­ter the smart­phone screen-maker re­ported up­beat earn­ings when mar­kets closed Fri­day. In other mar­kets: — Mum­bai fell 0.48 per­cent, or 134.67 points, to close at 28,101.72.

Bharat Heavy Elec­tri­cals in- creased 2.01 per­cent to 271.15 ru­pees but Oil and Nat­u­ral Gas Cor­po­ra­tion slid 2.55 per­cent to 275.10 ru­pees.

— Bangkok dropped 0.61 per­cent, or 8.66 points, to 1,420.13.

Air­ports of Thai­land fell 2.41 per­cent to 284.00 baht, while Siam Ce­ment slid 1.15 per­cent to 516.00 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur fell 1.68 per­cent, or 28.28 points, to close on 1,654.37.

Petronas Chem­i­cals lost 4.30 per­cent to end at 6.01 ring­git, and Telekom Malaysia shed 2.88 per­cent to 6.41 ring­git.

— Jakarta ended down 0.49 per­cent, or 21.35 points, at 4,748.95.

Fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Kresna Graha In­ves­tama gained 60 per­cent to 935 ru­piah while air trans­port provider In­done­sia Trans­port & In­fra­struc­ture fell 11.11 per­cent to 56 ru­piah.

— Manila closed flat, adding 1.83 points to 7,534.35.

Uni­ver­sal Robina Corp. led gain­ers, ris­ing 3.10 per­cent to 196.50 pe­sos, while top-traded Philip­pine Long Dis­tance Tele­phone ended 1.96 per­cent down at 2,702.00 pe­sos.

— In Welling­ton, the NZX-50 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.

— In Sin­ga­pore mar­kets were closed for a public hol­i­day.

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