Asia stocks rise amid positive US company news

Asian stock markets up as US consumers spend despite tax hikes; Nikkei up as yen eases

Associated Press
European woes weigh on world markets
.

View photo

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, A specialist works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow is closing at its highest level of the year, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013,coming within one percent of its record reached in October 2007. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

BANGKOK (AP) -- Stock markets in Asia moved higher Thursday on the heels of positive corporate news and resilience in U.S. consumer spending.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent to 11,317.61. The Tokyo market shrugged off data showing the Japanese economy shrank for a third straight quarter in the last three months of 2012, as investors expected the yen's recent weakness will boost company earnings.

The Bank of Japan ended a policy meeting Thursday with no new initiatives, which was the expected outcome ahead of an impending leadership change at the central bank.

Its governor Masaaki Shirakawa, who has appeared at odds with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's views, is resigning next month, giving the government an opportunity to find a successor more sympathetic to Abe's push for ultra-loose monetary policy.

South Korea's Kospi swung between gains and losses to be marginally lower at 1,975.02. Australia's S&P/ASX 300 advanced 0.8 percent to 5,045.40 largely due to gains in the resource sector. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent to 23,433.27 amid muted trading. Markets in Singapore and the Philippines fell while mainland China and Taiwan remained closed for Lunar New Year holidays.

Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong, said the local market was being led higher by financial stocks on "a rumor" that Chinese banks would be given permission to increase lending. Agricultural Bank of China rose 3.7 percent. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest bank by market value, advanced 2.3 percent.

The Hang Seng, reopening after a three-day holiday, displayed no sign of distress over North Korea's underground nuclear test that took place Tuesday.

"Unless they throw a nuclear bomb at South Korea or Japan, nobody thinks much of it," Lun said.

Among individual stocks, Australian aluminum producer Alumina surged 7.9 percent after Chinese financial company CITIC paid $452 million Australian dollars for a major stake in the company.

Global stocks mostly pushed higher on Wednesday on upbeat corporate earnings and evidence that U.S. consumer spending is withstanding tax increases. The latest figures showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.1 percent last month despite a hike in payroll taxes. While the rise was the smallest in three months, analysts said it nevertheless showed underlying resilience in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the world's largest economy.

Sentiment was also supported by news that Comcast Corp, America's biggest cable TV operator, agreed to buy half of NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion. Investors took the deal as a vote of confidence in the economy and the media industry.

Solid U.S. earnings also boosted sentiment. Cisco System Inc.'s latest quarterly earnings rose 44 percent to exceed analyst forecasts. Duke Energy's fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations as electricity rates rose and more extreme weather increased demand for power.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 13,982.91. The Dow was dragged down by fast-food giant McDonald's, which fell on fears that Americans would pull back on restaurant spending. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent to 1,520.33. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 percent to 3,196.88.

Benchmark oil for March delivery was up 15 cents in electronic trading to $97.16 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 50 cents to finish at $97.01 a barrel on the Nymex on Wednesday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3440 from $1.3447 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose to 93.50 from 93.48 yen.

___

Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson

Rates

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • Fed comments tell Cramer to buy Apple & more

    Jim Cramer spent Wednesday afternoon sifting through the Fed statement and the comments made by Fed Chief Janet Yellen in the subsequent press conference. "The trick with the Yellen regime, like the trick with the Ben Bernanke regime before her is to remember that they speak for the common person,"…

    CNBC
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

    New website reveals how to save $1,000's when you're living paycheck to paycheck. See exactly how.

    AdChoices Media ForceSponsored
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Gold loses luster on Fed; Barclays cuts forecast

    Barclays cuts gold forecasts, sees increasingly bearish backdrop Bloomberg MA MB MC MD ME SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold prices dipped Wednesday on concerns about a stronger dollar ahead of the Federal Reserve policy statement and in response to Barclays lowering its gold forecast.

    MarketWatch
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Best Womens Wrinkle Creams 2014

    Mom reveals simple wrinkle solution that has researchers very excited. Try this free solution today to look and feel years younger.

    AdChoicesBellaLabs.comSponsored
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com
  • Fed renews zero rate pledge, but hints at steeper rate hike path

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," but also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving. In a statement after a two-day meeting of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee,…

    Reuters
  • Boeing may have outfoxed Musk, but it could have bigger problems

    Elon Musk is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of the 21st Century, but he was outsized an old school aerospace giant. Boeing won the bulk of NASA’s contract for a space taxi.  One of the other companies vying for the deal is SpaceX, the company headed by Tesla’s Musk, will get a…

    Talking Numbers
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Romney-Sized IRAs Scrutinized as Government Studies Taxes

    The preliminary report attaches data to an issue that drew attention during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Republican nominee Mitt Romney reported an IRA worth $20 million to $102 million. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said many of these "massive" accounts come from deals…

    Bloomberg
  • The New 2015 Sonata®: A Step Above the Competition

    There's a Sonata® that's perfect for you, and this is your chance to build it! Visit the Hyundai® Official Site to customize your 2015 Sonata® today!

    AdChoicesHyundaiSponsored
  • The Government Keeps Helping People Buy Failing Cold Stone Creamerys

    Would you loan someone money to buy a Cold Stone Creamery franchise if you knew that more than a quarter of those loans default? Over the last decade, franchisees in the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream chain defaulted on 29 percent of working-capital loans backed by the government, costing taxpayers…

    BusinessWeek