Asian stock markets are mostly trading notably higher on Friday with investors picking up stocks, tracking positive cues from Wall Street where stocks rose sharply overnight after the U.S. Federal Reserve came out with its much awaited monetary policy measures.
In the Australian market, mining stocks lead the surge, posting strong gains. Energy, financial and industrial stocks are also trading firm.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 47.2 points or 1.1 percent at 4,386.5. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,407.7, up 47.9 points or 1.1 percent from its previous close.
Top miners BHP Billiton (BHP: Quote,BBL: Quote) and Rio Tinto (RIO: Quote,RIO.L) are up 1.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search are up 1.4 to 1.6 percent, while Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are trading higher by 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
In the banking space, ANZ Bank (ANZ: Quote), Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are up 0.5 to 0.7 percent, while Westpac (WBK) is up 1.3 percent from its previous close.
Atlas Iron is up nearly 11 percent. Boart Longyear is trading higher by about 7.5 percent, PanAust is gaining 6.3 percent and Newcrest Mining is up with a gain of 5.8 percent.
Oz Minerals, Regis Resources, Aurora Oil & Gas, Paladin Energy and Sims Metal Management are all trading higher by 4 to 5 percent.
Whitehaven Coal, Iluka Resources, Downer EDI, James Hardie Industries, Perseus Mining and Alumina (AWC: Quote) are all up by over 3 percent.
Lynas Corporation, Leighton Holdings, WorleyParsons and Bluescope Steel are also trading sharply higher.
Fortescue Metals shares are under a trading halt following the company's meeting with its bankers overnight. The stock had plunged sharply on Thursday amid rumours that the company had asked its lenders to waive its debt covenants for the next 12 months.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar hit a new 1-month high following the U.S. Federal Reserve's new stimulus package. The Aussie, which rose to US$1.0580 in morning trades, was quoting at around US$1.0576 around noon.
Stocks surged higher in the Japanese market as investors indulged in some hectic buying across the board, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street following a Fed stimulus.
Automobile, bank, steel, non-ferrous metals, precision instruments, glass & ceramics and rubber stocks opened on a buoyant note and were mostly up in positive territory with strong gains when the morning session ended. Electric power, transport and chemicals stocks got off to a mixed start.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 138.3 points or 1.5 percent at 9,133.4 at the end of the morning session.
Sumitomo Metal Industries jumped more than 7 percent following a sharp rise
in copper prices. Tokyo Tatemono, Fuji Electric, Kobe Steel, Pacific Metals, Nippon Electric Glass, Mitsubishi Materials, Mitsui OSK Lines, Tosoh Corp., Mitsui Chemicals and JFE Holdings moved up by 5 to 6.5 percent.
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., MS&AD Insurance, Toho Zinc, Sumitomo Chemical, Inpex Corp., Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Heiwa Real Estate, Asahi Glass and Mitsumi Electric all gained over 4 percent.
Advantest Corp. (ATE: Quote), Sumitomo Metal Industries, Canon Inc., Sony Corp (SNE)., Pioneer Corp., Nikon Corp., GS Yuasa, JX Holdings, Panasonic Corp (PC) and Nippon Steel also rose sharply.
In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (MTU: Quote) and SMFG gained more than 3 percent, Mizuho Financial (MFG: Quote) added 1.6 percent and Shinsei Bank advanced by 2 percent.
Among automobile stocks, Hino Motors, Mitsubishi Motors and Suzuki Motor gained 1.5 to 2.5 percent and Mazda Motor moved up by more than 3 percent, while Toyota Motor (TM: Quote) and Nissan Motor gained nearly a percent each.
Shares of Seven & I Holdings Ltd. drifted down by over 2 percent amid worries about a likely fall in earnings.
Nippon Meat Packers, Maruho Nichiro Holdings, Obayashi Corp., Sharp Corp. and Kansai Electric Power also traded weak.
On the economic front, data on Japan's industrial production in July is due for release during the day. Little change is expected from last month's preliminary reading for a 1.2 percent decline on month and a 1.0 percent fall on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 77 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 77.55 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong and South Korea are up sharply with their benchmark indices gaining more than 2.5 percent. Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan are also up with strong gains, while Shanghai, Malaysia and New Zealand are trading modestly higher.
On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply higher, as traders reacted positively to the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated monetary policy announcement. The Fed announced a plan to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additionally agency mortgage-based securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.
The Dow jumped 206.5 points or 1.6 percent to 13,539.9, the Nasdaq spurted 41.5 points or 1.3 percent to 3,155.8 and the S&P 500 ended up 23.4 points or 1.6 percent, at 1,460.
Major European markets ended mixed on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index moved up by 0.7 percent, while the German DAX index and the French CAC index lost 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended at a four-month high on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced the much anticipated additional quantitative easing measures to stimulate growth in the world's largest economy.
Crude for October delivery jumped $3.70 or 1.3 percent to close at $98.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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