By RTT News,
December 24, 2013, 04:06:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks rose broadly on Tuesday after strong data on U.S. consumer sentiment and personal spending brightened U.S. economic outlook. China's central bank moved to ease cash crunch fears, further bolstering investor confidence.
Japan's Nikkei index eked out modest gains, with strong cues from Wall Street overnight and a weaker yen bolstering sentiment as trading resumed following a public holiday. Also, Japan'sGovernment Pension Investment Fund plans to invest 400 billion yen in inflation-linked Japanese government bonds, the Nikkei reported. The Nikkei average rose above 16,000 for the first time in six years before paring gains to end up 19 points or 0.1 percent at 15,889.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. soared 4.3 percent after lifting its operating profit forecast for this financial year. SoftBank Corp fell 1.2 percent on reports its CEO has approached six banks to finance a bid to buy the majority of T-Mobile US Inc.Sony Corp dropped 1.3 percent. The consumer electronics giant has agreed to sell its audio-recognition software business Gracenote, Inc. to media company Tribune Company for $170 million, subject to standard adjustments.
Japanese cabinet today approved the country's budget for fiscal year starting in April 2014, which aims to shrink deficit by 41.3 trillion yen, compared to 42.9 trillion yen in the present year. The budget proposal worth 95.88 trillion yen would raise spending measures, while reducing debt sales to contain piling debt burden. In its monthly economic report, the government maintained the view that the economy is on the way to recovery at a moderate pace. While upgrading the assessment of private consumption, the government dropped 'deflation' from its report for the first time in four years.
China's Shanghai Composite index rose 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rallied 1.1 percent after China's central bank injected cash into the banking system via collateralized repo's - repurchase agreements to ease a cash crunch.
Australian shares extended gains for the fourth day in thin holiday trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,327, its highest level since November 29, in an abbreviated trading session on account of Christmas Eve. Banks rose across the board, with NAB, Commonwealth, ANZ and Westpac gaining between 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent. Retailers also gained ground. Wesfarmers rose 0.6 percent, Woolworths gained 0.3 percent and Harvey Norman Holdings rallied 1.6 percent.
Miners ended mixed, with BHP Billiton rising 0.4 percent, while Rio Tinto edged down marginally and Fortescue Metals Group dropped 1.1 percent. Rio Tinto said today that it is considering selling its 19.1 percent stake in a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska that has been opposed by the local community and several of Rio Tinto's shareholders. Transurban Group shares advanced 0.9 percent on reports the company is close to completing the purchase of A$475 million of debt held by Sydney's Cross City Tunnel.
Seoul shares advanced modestly, with a string of encouraging data from the U.S. underpinning sentiment. The benchmark Kospi average rose 0.2 percent to finish at 2,002, a three-week high.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index gained a percent to 4,768, a three-week high, in the shortened pre-Christmas session. Fletcher Building, which hit a four-month low last week, rose 2.1 percent, retailer Warehouse Group rallied 2.7 percent, building products manufacturer Steel & Tube Holdings advanced 2 percent and logistics firm Freightways soared 5.4 percent.
Elsewhere, India's Sensex was down 0.2 percent and the Taiwan Weighted average edged down marginally, while Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was up 0.2 percent, Malaysia's KLSE Composite was gaining 0.1 percent and Singapore's Straits Times was up 0.4 percent.
Taiwan's industrial production unexpectedly declined in November for the first time in three months, official data showed. The industrial production index fell 0.12 percent from a year earlier following the 0.61 percent rise in October.
Malaysia's unemployment rate rose notably to seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent in October from 3.1 percent in September, the Department of Statistics said.
U.S. stocks rose overnight after Apple reached a deal with China Mobile and a report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. consumer spending outpaced income growth in November. A key measure of core inflation remained tame below the Fed's 2 percent target. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about half a percent each to fresh record highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 1.1 percent to reach its best level since 2000.
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