Asian Stock Markets up on New York Cues, World Outlook

Asian stock markets marched ahead Thursday, after overnight Wall Street gains, reports of a growing global economy, and muted political tensions in Spain and on the Korean Peninsula. Hong Kong and Tokyo rose, although Shanghai traded flat, while in Seoul the Kospi reached a fresh all-time record high. Other exchanges generally ended in the green.

The Nikkei 225 stayed in recent form, edging up 0.35% as traders eyed overnight Wall Street gains and the pending earnings season.

In other news, troubled Kobe Steel (KBSTY, 5406:Tokyo), said quality falsification may spread beyond copper and aluminum. Also, industrial giant Toshiba (TOSYY, 6502:Tokyo) was removed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s watch list, after addressing book-keeping and corporate governance issues.

Japan’s wholesale prices rose 3.0% YOY in September, but analysts do not expect the prices to show up at retail, as Japan businesses have shown a preference to improve efficiencies or squeeze margins rather than raise prices.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 73.45 to 20,954.72, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 113 to 106. It was the eighth straight trading day of gains on the index.

Leading the upside were Chugai Pharmaceuticals (CHGCY, 4519:Tokyo), up 6.2%; followed by heavy equipment maker Komatsu (KMTUY, 6301:Tokyo), up 5.1%; and then internet-finance conglomerate SoftBank (SFTBY, 9984:Tokyo), up 3.6%.

On the downside were Mitsui Mining (MMSMY, 5706:Tokyo), off 4.8%; and then drug-maker Shionogi (SGIOF, 4507:Tokyo), off 4.4%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index joined in the recent global optimism on equity markets, rising 0.24% or 69.46 to 28,459.03, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 28 to 17.

Leading the upside were airline Cathay Pacific (293;HK), up 2.9% after a positive review by brokerage Goldman Sachs. Also leading were insurer Ping An (2318:HK), up 2.8% and then confectioner Want Want China (151:HK), up 2.6%.

On the downside were diaper-maker Hengan International (1044:HK), off 2.8%; and then pork-purveyor WH Group (288:HK) off 2.7%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.06% to 3,386.10.

On the other exchanges, the Taiwan TWSE rose 0.66%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.39%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.70%; but the Thai Set lost 0.10%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 1.09%.

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