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.