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Asian Stocks Climb on Valuations; Yen Weakens, Copper Advances
Aug 26, 2010 15:40CST

Aug 26, 2010 (Bloomberg) –

Woolworths Ltd., Australia’s biggest retailer, surged 4.1 percent after the company said it will buy back shares as it forecast earnings to increase. Photographer: Luis Enrique Ascui/Bloomberg

Geoffrey Yu, currency strategist for UBS Ltd., talks about hints from Japanese policymakers they may curb the advance of the yen. Yu also discusses the prospect of the Swiss National Bank stepping in to counter gains in the franc. He speaks with Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown." (Source: Bloomberg)

Mikio Kumada, a senior market analyst at LGT Capital Management in Singapore, talks about the outlook for Chinese banks. Chinese bank shares have slipped this year as the industry regulator clamped down on loans to local-government financing vehicles and property speculators, and ordered them to move off-balance-sheet debts back onto their books. Kumada, who also discusses the outlook for the U.S. economy, speaks with Linzie Janis on Bloomberg Television's "Global Connection."

Asian stocks rose from a one-month low on speculation they were cheap relative to profits, while the yen weakened as Japanese policymakers hinted they will act to curb its advance. Copper increased for the first day in three.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 116.44 as of 4 p.m. in Tokyo. The Stoxx Europe 600 increased 0.7 percent to 249.24. The yen dropped against all 16 of its major counterparts, trading at 84.72 per dollar from 84.58 in New York yesterday.

Copper advanced 1.7 percent to $7,218 a metric ton. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures were little changed.

Companies in the Asia Pacific index are valued at an average 13.4 times estimated earnings, the lowest level since December 2008. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told business leaders he is in contact with the Finance Ministry and the central bank on the possibility of currency intervention, Nikkei English News said. Reports on U.S. initial jobless claims and on second-quarter economic growth are scheduled today and tomorrow.

"Stocks have priced in an economic slowdown,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $450 million in assets in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “Current equity prices are too cheap judging from economic fundamentals.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.7 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.8 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.4 percent.

Woolworths Ltd., Australia’s biggest retailer, surged 2.4 percent after the company said it will buy back shares as it forecast earnings to increase. Air New Zealand Ltd. gained 4.1 percent after reporting higher full-year profit. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. lost 1.1 percent, leading declines by shipping companies, after cargo rates declined and Mizuho Securities Co. cut its investment recommendation.

Philippine Economy

The Philippine benchmark stock index jumped 1.2 percent, the most in seven weeks, after the country’s gross domestic product increased 7.9 percent from a year earlier. That’s more than the 6.3 percent median forecast of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The yen declined on the prospect that central bankers from around the world will signal at a meeting starting today their intention to maintain stimulus measures to boost the global recovery. The Dollar Index fell, snapping a five-day gain, as traders increased bets the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help spur U.S. economic growth.

"Japanese policy makers are finally gaining some traction over the soaring yen,” said Mike Jones, a currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand Ltd. in Wellington. “Authorities have begun to hint intervention to stem the yen’s rise could be in the offing. As a result, nervous investors are trimming long yen positions.” A long position is a bet an asset will gain.

The yen dropped to 107.61 per euro from 107.05 yesterday in New York, after climbing to 105.44 on Aug. 24, the strongest level since July 2001. Japan’s currency rose to 83.60 against the dollar on Aug. 24, the strongest since June 1995.

BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa will travel to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to attend the Fed’s annual symposium this week. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will discuss the outlook for the economy at the conference.

Crude oil gained for a second day in New York. Oil for October delivery rose as much as 45 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $72.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $72.62. Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange gained as much as 1.8 percent to $7,230 a ton.













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