By RTT News, October 17, 2013, 05:11:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks rose broadly on Thursday after U.S. President Barack Obama signed a short-term compromise bill that ends a 16-day government shutdown and raises the U.S. debt ceiling. Gains were capped across the Asia-Pacific region due to the temporary nature of the agreement. The legislation extends government financing until January 15 and averts default until February 7, leaving the risk of another government shutdown early in 2014.
Japanese shares extended gains for the seventh straight session on relief over the last minute U.S. debt deal. The Nikkei average rose 0.8 percent to 14,587, its highest level since September 27. The broader Topix index also gained 0.8 percent. Exporters benefited from a weaker yen, which traded at a three-week low versus the dollar and euro early in the session. Advantest rose 2.4 percent, Honda Motor advanced 1.2 percent, Nikon added 0.9 percent and Fanuc gained half a percent.
Heavyweights like Fast Retailing and KDDI, lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and brokerage Nomura Holdings all rose about a percent each. Kansai Electric Power jumped 2.8 percent after the utility swung to a first-half consolidated net profit of 15 billion yen, beating its forecast of a 32 billion yen loss. Among the prominent decliners, Sharp Corp fell 3 percent on a brokerage downgrade and Tokyo Electron declined 1.3 percent.
China's Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent, extending losses for a third consecutive session, as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of a slew of reports on GDP, factory output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment set to be published on Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.3 percent.
Foreign direct investment flow into China increased at a faster pace in September, the latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce showed. China attracted $8.84 billion of FDI in September, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier and faster than the 0.6 percent gain recorded in August. During the first nine months of the year, FDI flows increased 6.2 percent year-over-year to $88.6 billion.
Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its website, the People's Bank of China said it would continue its "prudent" monetary policy stance to maintain the banking system liquidity at reasonable and appropriate level.
Australian shares eked out modest gains, with banking and healthcare stocks pacing the gainers. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.4 percent higher at 5,283. ANZ, Commonwealth, Westpac and NAB rose between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent. CSL shares advanced 1.6 percent. Boral shares soared nearly 6 percent. The building materials supplier and Chicago-based USG Corp have signed a 50:50 strategic joint venture pact to create a world-leading building business named USG Boral Building Products.
Newcrest Mining fell 0.6 percent despite beating its own forecasts on gold production and costs for the September quarter. Woodside Petroleum retreated 1.4 percent after the oil & gas producer reported a 27 percent decline in its third-quarter sales. Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 3 percent after reaffirming its full-year guidance.
On the economic front, business confidence in Australia hit a two-year high in the third quarter, reflecting the political change associated with the federal election, data from a survey by the National Australia Bank showed. The headline business confidence index moved up to 3 from -1 in the second quarter.
South Korea's Kospi gained 0.3 percent as overseas investors extended their record-breaking buying spree for the 35th straight session. Foreigners remained net buyers, purchasing local shares worth 282.9 billion won on Thursday, breaking the previous record of 34 consecutive sessions set from January to March of 1998.
Shipbuilders led the gainers, with Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Samsung Heavy Industries rallying 3-4 percent. In economic releases, South Korea's producer prices eased 0.1 percent sequentially in September following the 0.3 percent increase in August, the Bank of Korea said.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 rose 0.4 percent, tracking gains elsewhere across Asia after U.S. lawmakers produced an eleventh-hour deal to avert a disastrous default. Xero extended gains, rallying 14 percent after announcing a capital raising last week, Diligent Board Member Services gained 2.9 percent, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings added 1.8 percent and Air New Zealand rose 1.3 percent to a five-month high. Exporter Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declined 1.1 percent as the kiwi dollar held near a five-month high against the greenback.
New Zealand consumer confidence increased in October after easing in September, a survey by ANZ and Roy Morgan revealed. The consumer confidence index advanced to 122.3 from 119.3 in September. The level is consistent with perky spending trends, the survey report said.
Elsewhere, the key benchmark indexes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan were up between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, while India's Sensex was down 0.4 percent.
Singapore's non-oil domestic exports declined 1.2 percent in September from a year earlier due to continued weakness in electronics shipments, official data showed. Economists had forecast a 2.8 percent decline.
U.S. stocks rallied overnight, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq hitting a fresh thirteen-year high, after the Senate reached an 11th-hour compromise deal to end the 16-day fiscal impasse. Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off a report from the National Association of Home Builders showing an unexpected drop in homebuilder confidence in October. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 1.4 percent each, while the Nasdaq added 1.2 percent.
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