Asian markets rise after Dow hits record high
Asian markets rallied on Wednesday following a record-breaking performance by shares on Wall Street, with Tokyo and Sydney both hitting multi-year highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.89 per cent higher at 14,253.77 on Tuesday, beating by nearly 90 points its former record seen on October 9, 2007, just before the onset of the global financial crisis.
Tokyo added 1.32 per cent by the break on Wednesday in Asian trade and Sydney was 0.96 per cent higher, both around highs not seen since September 2008. Hong Kong rose 0.84 per cent, Seoul was up 0.31 per cent and Shanghai climbed 0.31 per cent.
The stand-out player was Japanese electronics giant Sharp, which surged more than 17 per cent on reports that it was ready for a tie-up with South Korea’s Samsung worth more than US$100 million.
The surge on the Dow, which has seen the index more than double since its trough in March 2009, comes despite uncertainty in the US economy and as Washington battles over how to trim its huge deficit. Shares were also helped by a pick-up in the country’s services sector.
“Monetary easing measures by Japan, the US and Europe are providing excess liquidity in the market. The Dow’s gains are just part of it,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.
Also on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 0.96 per cent to close at 1,539.79, just two per cent short of its own record, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.32 per cent.
In Tokyo trade Sharp soared 17.06 per cent after the Nikkei business daily and other media reported that Samsung was set to make a capital injection worth $108 million. On South Korea’s Kospi, Samsung was up 0.6 per cent.
The deal, in which Sharp would sell new shares, would provide much-needed support for the troubled Japanese firm while giving Samsung greater access to smartphone and tablet computer screens.
An official announcement is expected on Wednesday, the Nikkei said.
On currency markets the dollar bought 93.10 yen in early trade, from 93.31 yen in New York Tuesday. The euro fetched 121.59 yen and US$1.3057, compared with 121.74 yen and US$1.3044.
Sydney stocks were given a lift after data showed the economy grew 0.6 per cent in the three months to December from the previous quarter and 3.1 per cent year-on-year, as the resources sector and consumer spending rallied.
The Australian dollar rose slightly to US$1.0275 from US$1.0266 prior to the release of the figures.
Oil prices edged up after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, which has stoked uncertainty about the direction of the major Latin American oil-producing nation.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, added 19 cents to US$91.01 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for April delivery increased 53 cents to US$112.14.
Gold was at US$1,578.33 at 0230 GMT compared with US$1,583.02 late Tuesday.