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Asian Stocks Bolt Higher on US Gains

CNBC.com with Reuters
Friday, 28 May 2010 | 5:20 AM ET

Asian stocks bolted higher Friday posting their third straight day of gains, after China's denial that it was reviewing its euro bond holdings prompted an impressive rally on Wall Street where the Dow jumped nearly 3 percent to close back over the 10,000 mark.

Japan's Nikkei average rose 1.3 percent on Friday in its best one-day performance for two weeks as exporter shares climbed on a halt in the yen's advance and trading houses gained on higher commodity prices.

The benchmark Nikkei gained 123.26 points to 9,762.98, moving further away from a six-month low below 9,400 hit the previous day when it ended up 1.2 percent on dip-buying.

It lost 0.2 percent on the week for its second successive negative week.

The broader Topix added 1 percent to 878.52.

The euro dipped 0.1 percent against the yen to 112.33 yen, easing back after climbing 2.7 percent on Thursday for its biggest one-day percentage rise in 15 months.

Many Japanese exporters have set their currency assumption rates for euro/yen at 120-125 yen for the year to March, and a stronger yen erodes exporters' profits when repatriated.

Sony climbed 1.8 percent to 2,838 yen, Canon advanced 1.6 percent to 3,740 yen and TDK rose 1.5 percent to 5,340 yen, though all pared earlier gains.

Shares of trading houses climbed after commodities prices rose, with copper rising on Thursday to its highest in two weeks as fears about euro zone debt eased and analysts looked to engines of growth outside Europe to keep the economic recovery on track.

Mitsubishi rose 1.4 percent to 2,074 yen and fellow trading firm Mitsui & Co gained 1.4 percent to 1,321 yen. Sojitz climbed 2 percent to 151 yen.

Seoul shares ended higher on Friday, posting a third consecutive gaining session and more than recouping losses made since tensions with North Korea heightened earlier this week, with financials rebounding firmly.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 0.95 percent at 1,622.78 points.

Financials led the bounce after prolonged losses amid strengthening hopes that Europe's debt crisis may be contained.

Ssangyong Motor jumped 12.95 percent as stake sale hopes strengthened after a local media report French carmaker Renault's local unit may battle India's Mahindra to buy the troubled firm, worth up to $500 million.

Renault Samsung had no immediate response to the report. Analysts however said Mahindra may have stronger interest in pursuing Ssangyong.

Airlines and tour issues advanced as the won extended gains, pointing to lower jet fuel import costs and higher overseas tour demand. Asiana Airlines climbed 1.83 percent. Major tour agency Modetour jumped 3.85 percent.

Crude refiners also rallied thanks to the won's pickup as well as gains in crude prices, analysts said. SK Energy, South Korea's top refiner, jumped 6.97 percent and S-Oil, the country's third-largest, rose 3.56 percent.

Australia Posts Best Week Since Sept.

Australian stocks advanced for a third straight session on Friday and marked their best weekly
gain since September as investors picked up beaten-down stocks and hoped the worst of market volatility was over.

Banks and retailers rallied on above-average volume as worries eased about the spread of Europe's debt crisis and on hopes the Australian central bank will stop raising interest
rates for a few months.

But shares of budget carrier Virgin Blue took a hard landing as the airline more than halved its fiscal 2010 net profit projection.

Virgin shares ended down 28 percent at A$0.31, topping the most actives list on 11 times its average daily volume.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 78.3 points or
1.8 percent to 4,457.5.

With just one trading day left in May and ahead of a holiday weekend in the UK and the U.S., the local market is down 7.3 percent on the month.

HK Rises on Easing Euro Zone Concerns; Shanghai Flat

Hong Kong's stock market rallied on Friday on gains in financial and energy shares on short- covering after heavy selling earlier in the week.

While the benchmark Hang Seng recovered the week's sharp losses it was still on track to its second-worst monthly performance of the last 15 months with the index down 6 percent.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 1.7 percent or 335.34 points at 19766.71. The China Enterprises Index of top locally listed mainland companies rose 2.7 percent.

Chinese stocks closed flat on Friday, losing steam after a technical rally early in the session that was spurred by gains abroad, although it posted its biggest weekly gain in eight weeks.

The Shanghai Composite ended at 2,655.8 points, down 0.01 percent, after jumping more than 1 percent to a two-week intraday high at the start of trade.

China's government has deployed a host of policies to curb speculation in the sizzling property sector, causing property shares to suffer the brunt of Shanghai's stock market falls.

Property shares widely underperformed the benchmark, with Shanghai's property subindex down 1.4 percent. The index is down 27 percent on the year, with investors spooked over looming property tightening measures.

Taiwan stocks rose 0.72 percent on Friday, helped by a rebound in global markets, with PC vendor Acer surging 7 percent to its daily limit after it said it saw revenue rising nearly 20 percent this year.

The Taiwan Weighted closed up 52.16 points at 7,295.32. LCD maker AU Optronics gained 2 percent after it said it would invest in a solar cell plant with a U.S. firm.

Shares of components maker Hon Hai Precision, troubled by deaths at its China manufacturing sites, fell 1.2 percent even after it said it would raise salaries for China workers.

Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand markets were all closed for public holidays.

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