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Asia Ends Higher on Hopes for US Recovery

Reuters and CNBC.com
Friday, 2 Nov 2012 | 6:19 AM ET

Asian shares advanced to their highest in nearly two weeks with risk appetite returning on signs that a trend of global recovery is stabilizing, particularly in the United States and China.

Investors will be looking ahead to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, which will be reported on Friday, as scheduled. The monthly government jobs report, which is expected to show 125,000 jobs added in October compared with 140,000 in September, will be the last before the Nov. 6 presidential election.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index, which measures markets across Asia, rose by 37.3 points, or 0.6 percent.

Japan's Nikkei share average climbed to a one-week high as global cyclical shares like carmakers rose on improved U.S. economic data.

The Nikkei rose 1.2 percent to 9,051.22, ending above the 9,000 mark for the first time in a week. The broader Topix index also added 1.2 percent to 752.09.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries surged as much as 8.4 percent to a three-month high of 311 yen after it posted a strong first-half operating profit, which represents 54 percent of its full-year outlook.

Network systems services provider Systena was up 7.2 percent, having touched a year high of 75,000 yen in early trade, after the company said on Thursday it will expand its plan to buy back shares.

Sony was up 3.4 percent, recovering from its Thursday fall after Panasonic plunged nearly 20 percent on its massive loss outlook announcement.

Ibiden slumped 8.5 percent, hitting a nine-year low after the printed circuit board maker cut its full-year operating profit forecast by 65 percent to 6.5 billion yen, citing sluggish PC sales.

Nikon tumbled 5.5 percent after cutting its operating profit outlook to 72 billion yen from the previously forecast 85 billion yen for the year ending March.

Sharp fell as much as 5 percent, dropping for the second straight day, after the company disappointed the market with its massive full-year loss outlook.

China shares closed higher, posting their best week in a month, helped by strength in Chinese banks after official media reported that the central bank will reduce reserve ratios for smaller banks if they meet loan-growth requirements.

The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed at 2,306.8 points, up 0.4 percent on the day and up 2.6 percent for the week. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent on Friday and 2.5 percent this week.

For both indices, it was their best weekly showing since the week ending Sept. 30.

Hong Kong shares jumped to their highest level in 15 months, as fund inflows into the Chinese territory buoyed hopes of further gains leading into the year's end and encouraged investors to build riskier positions.

The Hang Seng Index went into the midday trading break up 1.3 percent at 22,099.8, breaking resistance at about 22,000 on its way to its highest since early August 2011. It is up 2.3 percent on the week.

Improving macro-economic data from China has encouraged fresh money flows into Chinese equities, and market turnover for the Hong Kong bourse has risen about 20 percent on a daily average basis since the start of September.

Bourse operatorHong Kong Exchange(HKEx) jumped 1.9 percent to its highest in more than six months on anticipation inflows would continue.

China Minsheng Bank rose 1.8 percent, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China(ICBC), the country's largest lender, rose 1 percent.

South Korean shares rose on Friday, as blue chip shares such as Samsung Electronics powered ahead following solid gains by their U.S. peers.

Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 1.07 percent at 1,918.17 points, the highest in six sessions.

Shares of Samsung Heavy Industries, the world's second-largest shipbuilder, jumped 6.1 percent, helped by better-than-expected earnings.

Technology stocks were among the biggest gainers in large cap shares, buoyed by expectations that a booming market for mobile devices will lead to higher sales of components. Samsung Electronics rose 2.2 percent and its smaller peers LG Display and SK Hynix rose more than 2 percent respectively.

On the downside, big utilities Korea Gas (KOGAS) and Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) both dipped 0.2 percent, after surging on defensive plays in Thursday's bear market.

Australian shares inched up 0.1 percent but ended the week 0.3 percent lower, with
miners rallying on strong metal prices, while gains were capped by sluggish earnings and caution ahead of the release of U.S. jobs data.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 2.5 points to 4,460.1. The benchmark fell 1.3 percent on Thursday, the biggest one-day percentage loss since late July.

Australia's producer prices rose by far less than expected last quarter as a lofty local dollar and falling petrol prices helped offset the impact of a carbon tax, a benign outcome that adds to the case for a cut in interest rates next week.

The resource sector gained as mining giant BHP Billiton jumped 1.7 percent while rival Rio Tinto rose by 2 percent.

Whitehaven Coal was down 0.7 percent to A$2.995. after shareholders in Australia's largest independent coal miner voted on Thursday to keep the company's board intact, declining to join a bid by major shareholder Nathan Tinkler to oust the chairman and some directors.

Tiger Resources jumped 3.1 percent to A$0.335 after the Democratic Republic of Congo's mines minister told Reuters proposed moves by the government to increase its stake in mines in the country would not apply to existing contracts.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.5 percent, or 17.8 points to 3,914.1.

The BSE index ose 1 percent, while the 50-share NSE index dded 0.9 percent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.5 percent, whilst Malaysia's KL Composite Index lost 1.2 percent.