World Economy

Asia Stocks Mostly Up

Asia Stocks Mostly UpAsia Stocks Mostly Up

Shares in Asia reversed earlier losses to end mostly higher on Tuesday, led by a surge in Japanese stocks after officials warned that the government could intervene against a sharp rise in the yen, AP reported.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average ended up 2.2%, Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index ended little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.4%.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Monday

Tuesday it would be “natural” for the government to intervene if the yen were to gain abruptly against the US dollar. A strong local currency puts pressure on the earnings of exporters because it can make their goods more expensive overseas.

The Japanese yen weakened overnight but was steady in early Asia trading. The dollar was recently at ¥108.77.

The weaker yen appeared to encourage investors, and Japanese stocks rose on the back of the dollar’s modest recovery, said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

“The problem for Japanese stocks has been the yen,” said Yusuke Sakai, senior trader at T&D Asset Management. “If that uncertainty is removed, the stocks appear to be lagging [behind other markets],” he said.

In the Philippines, stocks rose after early election results showed presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte to be ahead by a wide margin and on the cusp of victory. The benchmark PSEi surged 2.6%, its largest one-day gain since Jan. 27.

The Philippine peso was also strengthening more than its Asian peers, and was last at 46.75 per dollar.

Elsewhere, Chinese stocks were choppy after data showed consumer inflation rose 2.3% in April from a year earlier, unchanged for the third consecutive month and nearly in line with analysts’ expectations.

A selloff in Chinese commodities futures also resumed Tuesday, as weak sentiment in the spot market rolled over into futures markets. In Shanghai, the most actively traded steel rebar futures contract fell 6.4%, while iron ore futures trade down 5.3% to 382.5 yuan a ton.

Chinese regulators have been installing measures to curb speculation on certain commodities.

The selloff in China, combined with the overnight slump in oil prices, squeezed energy shares in the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia, Rio Tinto Ltd. tumbled 2.9%, and BHP Billiton Ltd. fell 3.2%. They are the world’s second- and third-biggest iron-ore suppliers, respectively.

  European Shares Rise

European shares advanced on Tuesday, with Danish jewelry maker Pandora surging after strong results and bank Credit Suisse gaining after a smaller than expected first quarter loss.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.3%, while Greek shares rose 2.5% after eurozone finance ministers offered to grant Greece some debt relief.

Earnings reports set the tone of the market, with Pandora up 9.9% after reporting a bigger than expected rise in first-quarter operating profit on strong sales growth and raising its full-year forecast. Credit Suisse was up 5.7%.

On the downside, France’s Natixis fell 6.8% after saying it was looking at ways to boost efficiency as investment banking weakness led to a 30% fall in first-quarter net income.

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp fell 2.5% after cutting its full-year forecasts on a drop in prices for materials including steel that it said was sharper and longer-lasting than it had expected.