Asian stock markets are mostly trading with strong gains on Friday amid easing worries about the debt crisis in Greece following the Greek government deciding to refrain from holding a referendum on the bailout package. A rate cut by the European Central Bank and a buoyant close on Wall Street overnight too are contributing to the upbeat mood in the Asian region.
The Australian stock market is trading sharply higher with investors going on a buying spree across the board. Key stocks from almost all sectors are trading in positive territory with impressive gains. Financial, mining, energy and property trusts stocks are among the top movers.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,279.4, is currently trading at 4,262, up 90.2 points or 2.1 percent over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 85.5 points or 2 percent at 4,323.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 2 to 3 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are also trading notably higher.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton is up 3.7 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining about 4.5 percent, Fortescue Metals is up 5.8 percent and Newcrest Mining is trading nearly 3 percent up.
Iluka Resources, Whitehaven Coal, Oz Minerals, Bluescope Steel, Incitec Pivot and Orica are also up with strong gains.
Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Caltex Australia are up 2 to 3 percent, while Oil Search is up with a gain of 1.3 percent.
Panaust is up more than 7 percent. Alumina, Goodman Group and Stockland are gaining 4 to 5 percent. Westfield Group, Campbell Brothers, Sonic Healthcare, QR National, Downer EDI, WorleyParsons and James Hardie Industries are also up with strong gains.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its forecasts for economic growth and inflation amid concerns about a possible spillover from the European crisis. In its quarterly Statement of Monetary Policy, the central bank cut the growth forecast for the year ended June 2012 to 4 percent from the original estimate of 4.5 percent. For December 2011, the annual GDP forecast was lowered to 2.75 percent from 3.25 percent predicted in August.
Consumer prices will rise 2 percent in the 12 months to June 30, 2012, from a previous prediction of 2.5 percent. Underlying inflation is projected at 2.5 percent from a previous 3 percent, the central bank said.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened sharply higher following a rate cut in Europe. In early trades, the Aussie was quoting at US$1.0433, up nearly two cents from Thursday's close of US$1.0248. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 1.0385 to the U.S. dollar.
The Japanese stock market moved higher, snapping a three-day losing streak, amid hopes that Greece will avoid a default. Oil, banking, automobile, real estate and insurance stocks opened on a firm note and were mostly trading in positive territory with notable gains when the morning session ended. Retail, electric power and non-ferrous metals were also trading firm.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which rose to around 8,785 in early trades, was up 110.3 points or 1.3 percent at 8,750.8 at the break.
GS Yuasa Corp shares gained nearly 10 percent. Minebea Co. and Nitto Boseki were gaining over 9 percent. Astellas Pharma, Komatsu, Sumitomo Corp, Okuma, Sony Financial, Daikin Industries, Hitachi Construction Machinery and Fuji Electric gained 4 to 6 percent.
Sharp Corp, Tokio Marine, Marubeni, Nippon Suisan, Denso, Mitsubishi Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nomura Holdings, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Heiwa Real Estate, Mitsubishi Materials, Dai-ichi Life and IHI also moved up sharply.
Among automobile stocks, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor gained over 4 percent. Hino Motors surged 2.7 percent, Isuzu Motors advanced by over 2 percent, Suzuki Motor gained 1.8 percent and Toyota Motor posted a gain of about 1.6 percent, while Mitsubishi Motor was trading flat.
In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Shizuoka Bank moved up sharply. Chiba Bank and Bank of Yokohama were up with modest gains, while Mizuho Financial and Shinsei Bank traded flat.
The Japanese government on Friday approved a request for financial assistance by Tokyo Electric Power Co. The Tepco stock moved up by over 1 percent. The company has reportedly suffered a pretax loss of 130 billion yen for the first half ended September.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.02 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan are up sharply with their benchmark indices gaining 2 to 3 percent. Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia are also up with strong gains, while Shanghai is trading modestly higher. Markets across the region ended mostly lower on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher on Thursday with investors reacting positively to the latest headlines out of Europe as well as some upbeat U.S. jobs data.
While contradictory reports regarding Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's resignation contributed to some early volatility, stocks moved higher as the day progressed amid reports suggesting that Papandreou will fight to stay in power but is scrapping plans to hold a referendum on the Greek bailout package. A rate cut in Europe too contributed to the surge.
The major averages closed firmly in positive territory, just off their highs for the session. The Dow jumped 208.4 points or 1.8 percent to 12,044.5, the Nasdaq moved up by around 58 points or 2.2 percent to 2,698 and the S&P 500 soared 23.3 points or 1.9 percent to 1,261.2.
Major European markets all moved to the upside on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index advanced by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index gained 2.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.
Crude oil prices surged higher on Thursday amid hopes Europe will overcome the debt crisis following Greece backing away from a referendum on the bail-out package. Light, sweet crude for December delivery ended up 1.7 percent at $94.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org