Asian stocks gained after better-than-expected Chinese trade
data and dovish comments on Tuesday from new Federal Reserve
Chairman Janet Yellen.
China's exports rose 10.6% in January compared to a year
earlier, accelerating from a 4.3% advance the previous month. The
result was well ahead of a 2% forecast rise from a Reuters survey
and projections for a 0.1% gain in a Wall Street Journal poll of
economists. Imports increased by 10%, picking up their pace from an
8.3% December advance and beating estimates for a 3% rise in both
the Reuters and Wall Street Journal surveys. The resulting trade
surplus totaled $31.86 billion. The Wall Street Journal had tipped
a $27.1 billion surplus, widening from December's $25.6
In testimony, Yellen said the Fed would likely continue with its
easy money policy and the recovery in the labor market is far from
The U.S. Congress also agreed to raise the U.S. debt ceiling
without any add-on provisions also boosted sentiment.
In other news around the region, Japanese core machinery orders
fell 15.7% in December on a seasonally adjusted basis from the
previous month, a sharp reverse from a big gain the previous month
in this key gauge of capital expenditure and larger than the 4.1%
decline expected in a median forecast of economists polled by The
Wall Street Journal and the Nikkei.
A Westpac Banking Corp./Melbourne Institute index of Australia's
consumer sentiment fell 3% in February from January to 100.2
points, just above the 100-point level that means optimists
outnumber pessimists. Consumer confidence is now at its lowest
level since July.
South Korean data showed January's unemployment rate rose for
the second straight month.
In ADR news, Sony (
) is in talks with Apple (
) to double its supply of camera components for a new iPhone, the
) said it would recall about 1.9 million third-generation Prius
cars sold worldwide to fix a programming glitch in the vehicle's
The Nikkei ended up 0.56% at 14,800.06, the Hang Seng up 1.47%
at 22,285.79 and Shanghai up 0.3% at 2,109.96.
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