Asian markets on the rise

Regional benchmark advances as the IMF gets set to raise growth forecasts and the US trade deficit narrows

Gaming company Nintendo jumped 11 per cent in Tokyo after China lifted a 13-year ban on game consoles. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Gaming company Nintendo jumped 11 per cent in Tokyo after China lifted a 13-year ban on game consoles. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 07:19

Asian stocks rose over-night, with the regional benchmark gauge on course for the first gain in five days, as the International Monetary Fund said it will raise its global economic growth forecast and the US trade deficit narrowed.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.9 per cent to 139.78 after closing yesterday at the lowest level since December 19th.

The US trade figures and the IMF’s plans to raise its global economic growth forecasts show that the world economy is on a recovery path,” Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities, a unit of Japan’s second-biggest lender, said. “The outlook is for U.S. fourth-quarter earnings to be favorable, and the expectations are also strong for Japanese company earnings.”

Nintendo jumped 11 per cent in Tokyo after China lifted a 13-year ban on game consoles. Belle International Holdings, China’s biggest seller of footwear, soared 11 per cent in Hong Kong as Barclays said the retailer may boost earnings. Seven and I Holdings jumped 6 per cent in Tokyo after the supermarket chain’s operating profit beat analyst estimates.

Japan’s Topix index soared 1.8 per cent to the highest close since July 2008 as the yen fell. Earnings season began this week in Japan, with about 90 companies listed on the Topix reporting through Friday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

South Korea’s Kospi index and Australia’s SandP/ASX 200 Index were both little changed while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 1.2 per cent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city, also known as the H-share index, added 0.9 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2 per cent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.7 per cent and Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.5 per cent.

The IMF expects to upgrade its outlook for global economic growth, managing director Christine Lagarde told reporters in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The organisation plans to announce a new forecast “about three weeks from now,” she said.

Data yesterday showed the trade deficit in the US shrank more than forecast in November as oil imports dropped to the lowest level in three years and exports climbed to a record. The gap narrowed 12.9 per cent to $34.3 billion, smaller than projected by any economist surveyed by Bloomberg and the least since October 2009, the Commerce Department reported in Washington.

Brent crude edged up 8 cents to $107.43 per barrel, having broken five straight sessions of losses on Tuesday. US crude firmed 31 cents to $93.99. Gold slipped as a firmer dollar and the rebound in US stocks prompted investors to take profits. Spot gold was at $1,226.45 an ounce, off from a top on Tuesday of $1,245.25.

Bloomberg/Reuters