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Asian markets cheered by US, Europe stimulus hopes

July 30, 2012

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose for a second straight session today on hopes for new rounds of central bank stimulus in Europe and the United States to kickstart their troubled economies.

The gains followed positive leads from Wall Street and Europe on Friday, while comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday on saving the euro were reinforced by Germany, France and Italy over the weekend.

Tokyo closed up 0.80%, or 68.80 points, at 8,635.44, Sydney gained 0.85%, or 35.9 points, to 4,245.7 and Seoul also climbed 0.80%, adding 14.63 points to 1,843.79.

In the afternoon Hong Kong rose 1.35% but Shanghai shares were down 0.70%.
Data showing US gross domestic product expanded at a weaker pace in the three months to June underlined the frail state of the world’s number one economy but lifted sentiment as dealers now expect a fresh cash injection from the Federal Reserve.

Washington said the economy grew 1.5% in the second quarter of the year, after 2.0% in the first three months, sending US shares skyward.

Global shares were sent soaring on Friday after Draghi said the “ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me it will be enough”.

That message was reinforced later Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande who vowed in a joint statement to do “everything to protect the eurozone” after telephone talks.

Merkel reiterated the pledge in a joint statement with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti yesterday.

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker also said in interviews published Sunday that the eurozone had reached a crucial juncture and its leaders would work with the ECB to save the single currency.

“There’s a great degree of expectation around policy response from the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve,” Pengana Capital portfolio manager Tim Schroeders in Australia told Dow Jones Newswires.

The string of positive news has helped push down borrowing costs for under-pressure Spain. The yield on benchmark 10-year bonds fell to 6.658% on Friday from 6.828% the day before, after surging towards eight percent earlier in the week.

On currency markets, the euro bought US$1.2292 and 96.32 yen in afternoon trade, down from US$1.2315 and 96.63 yen in New York late Friday. The dollar firmed to 78.40 yen from 78.19 yen.

In Japan, the Nikkei advanced despite figures showing factory output unexpectedly fell in June as the debt crisis in Europe as well as a strong yen quelled demand for the country’s goods.

Oil prices rose. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery was up 46 US cents to US$90.59 a barrel in the afternoon, while Brent North Sea crude, also for delivery in the same month, was 26 US cents higher at US$106.73.

Gold was at US$1,621.00 at 0630 GMT from US$1,623.65 late Friday.


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