Asian shares rise after more solid US earnings

Friday, 22 April 2011 01:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Asian stocks rallied for a second straight day on Thursday, with dealers buoyed by another batch of strong earnings in the United States and a jump on Wall Street to a near three-year high.

Technology firms were boosted after Apple said its profits almost doubled in the three months to the end of March, which followed solid results from Intel, Yahoo! and IBM.

Tokyo gained 0.82 percent, or 78.95 points, to 9,685.77 and Hong Kong was up 1.03 percent in the afternoon while Shanghai was 0.72 percent higher.

Sydney added 1.13 percent, or 54.8 points, to 4,913.8 and Seoul rose 1.32 percent, or 28.63 points, to 2,198.54.

On Wall Street the Dow jumped 1.52 percent, its highest level since June 2008, on the back of the earnings.

Global stocks have rebounded strongly since Tuesday when sentiment was hurt after Standard & Poor’s downgraded its outlook for US sovereign debt.

However, the dollar was sent sliding against Asian units as it was weighed by rising stocks prices, increasing risk appetite and lingering fears over the US debt mountain.

Regional tech plays were boosted after US computer giant Apple said net profit soared 95 percent in its fiscal second quarter thanks to surging sales of iPhones and iPads.

Yahoo! said net profit fell but at a slower pace that anticipated while IBM also surprised investors.

Previously chipmaker Intel beat expectations by reporting net profit jumped 29 percent in the first quarter over a year ago and revenue rose 25 percent.

“Great earnings numbers from both Apple and Intel this week are giving investors confidence that the US economy is trending up,” Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of the equity division at Nikko Cordial Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

“And for now it is offsetting concerns over debt issues in Europe and nuclear worries (in Japan).”

On forex markets the dollar slumped to a record low $1.0736 against the Australian dollar, a 13-year 3.0080 low against the Malaysian ringgit and a 31-month low 1,080.50 to the South Korean won.

The greenback eased to 82.23 yen in Tokyo morning trade from 82.54 in New York late Wednesday.

The euro rose to $1.4568 from 1.4519. The single European currency fetched 119.81 yen against 119.83.

“The dollar is broadly under selling pressure,” said Tohru Sasaki, strategist at JPMorgan Chase Bank in Tokyo.

“Investors’ risk appetite is increasing on the back of brisk gains in stock markets amid growing expectation for economic recovery,” Sasaki said. “Investors are selling the dollar and the yen to finance investment” in riskier assets with higher returns.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, rose 71 cents to $112.16 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for June gained 90 cents to $124.75 in the afternoon.

Gold opened at $1,506.00-$1,507.00 an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Wednesday’s close of $1,500.00-$1,501.00 after the precious metal broke the key $1,500 mark for the first time on Wednesday. The safe haven has soared as dealers grow concerned over eurozone debt, unrest in the Arab world and global inflation.