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Asian shares close higher, Australia and Hong Kong hitting new records

Asian shares close higher, Australia and Hong Kong hitting new records

HONG KONG (XFN-ASIA) – Shares across the Asia-Pacific region closed higher, with Tokyo rising on a weaker yen and the Hong Kong and Australian markets trading at new record highs, dealers said.

Tokyo shares closed higher as the yen’s continued weakness against the dollar buoyed hopes that Japanese companies may upgrade their earnings forecasts for the fiscal year ending March, dealers said.

A number of big firms are reporting their nine months to December results in coming weeks.

The blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed up 113.74 points or 0.66 pct at 17,424.18, off a high of 17,484.59.
The TOPIX index of all issues listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section ended the session up 16.12 points or 0.94 pct at 1,730.33, off a high of 1,733.15.

Hoya, the largest Japanese maker of eyeglasses, released its April-December results and year to March projections during the afternoon session. Dealers said the figures disappointed market players, who sold off the stock, which sent its share price tumbling, but this did not dent broader market sentiment.

‘Investors had been particularly bullish on Hoya, which had posted strong earnings recently and had been in place to benefit from a weaker yen. Although Hoya’s projections failed to impress the market, hopes for more favorable earnings announcements in the coming weeks persisted, offsetting the negative reaction on the broader market,’ said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Australian shares closed at fresh record highs as investors bought resource stocks after base metal prices such as copper rebounded in London trading on Friday, dealers said.

Energy and bank stocks also rose, which supported buying of the wider market.

The S&P;/ASX 200 jumped 53.5 points or 0.94 pct to a record close at 5,726.6, surpassing last Monday’s record close of 5,673.8.

The key index closed off a fresh intra-day record of 5,739.8 and above the low for the day of 5,688.5.

The broader All Ordinaries index climbed 51.8 points to a fresh record close of 5,703.9, also beating the previous record close of 5,652.1 set last Friday, and setting a fresh intra-day record of 5,715.5.

Hong Kong shares were up sharply in afternoon trade, hitting a new highs on the back of strong gains in HSBC and China Mobile, dealers said.

The two index heavyweights were boosted by gains in the prices of their American depositary receipts on Friday, they said, noting that HSBC is being boosted by expectations that its US unit may fare better than previously thought while China Mobile has been lifted by strong subscriber numbers.

At 3.40 pm the Hang Seng Index had gained 404.92 points or 1.99 pct at 20,732.64.

The index’s previous all-time intraday-high was 20,554.58 hit on Jan 3.

In mainland China, A-shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen closed higher amid strong capital inflows with banks, automakers and retailers gaining ground, dealers said.

Over 120 companies closed up their daily limits of 10 pct.

The Shanghai A-share Index surged 105.87 points or 3.56 pct to 3,080.75 and the Shenzhen A-share Index was up 29.36 points or 4.22 pct at 725.79, a new all time high, on turnover of 50.52 bln yuan.
Seoul shares closed slightly higher, rebounding from a steep decline in early trade, as futures-linked program buying picked up late in the session, dealers said.

After a mixed Friday close on Wall Street, the local bourse fell below firm support at 1,350 points at one stage, with all major players unloading shares.

But it managed to finish in positive territory toward the close, after the stronger performance by other major Asian markets, they noted.

Large cap IT and steel makers posted gains while retailers and builders turned sharply lower.

The KOSPI index closed up 2.85 points or 0.21 pct at 1,363.41, after moving between 1,348.46 and 1,364.67.

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