ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.7 percent to 128.30 as of 7:48 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge has climbed 12 percent from this year’s low on Feb. 8, as improving economic data boosted the outlook for the global economy and concern over European budget deficits eased. Stocks in the index trade at 16.4 times estimated earnings, compared with 15 times for the MSCI World Index of 23 developed nations.
Overnight the US market posted stron gains and you can expect ASEAN markets to rally strongly today.
The growth data from Singapore added to overnight optimism after Intel Corp’s (INTC) strong quarterly results. Today looks even better as ore good earning news from JP Morgan will add to the rally in ASEAN.
Singapore stocks starred in the ASEAN market, they hit their highest level since June 2008 on Wednesday as the local economy accelerated, prompting the central bank to declare the country had fully recovered from its worst-ever recession.
Gains in Singapore were led by container shipper Neptune Orient Lines (NEPS) and top lender DBS Group Holdings (DBSM) as the surge in domestic growth reflected strengthening regional and global economies.The STI is trading at 1.68 times book value and is factoring in only 5.0-5.5 percent GDP growth, Hak Bin said in a note.
Shares of NOL rose 8 percent, their sharpest rise in over a year, to S$2.30, adding to gains in recent days to take it to a 20-month high.
Singapore’s trade-dependent economy expanded 13.1 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, the strongest since 1994 and beating expectations for an 11 percent rise.
The Singapore government also raised its 2010 growth forecast to between 7 and 9 percent, from a previous 4.5-6.5 percent.
The Straits Times Index ended 1.6 percent higher at 3,019.7 points, breaching the psychologically important 3,000 level and convincingly moving above the 61.8 percent retracement level of its downward move between September 2007 and March 2009.
Other Southeast Asian markets were slow, however, with the year’s strongest performer this year, Indonesia, ending little changed on the day. Malaysia closed up 0.1 percent.
Indonesia’s main index has leapt nearly 14 percent so far this year, and some traders said investors may now be taking profits ahead of earnings season.
“With the GDP growth figures revised upwards, it shows that economies are recovering, leading to more trade,” a dealer at a local brokerage said, referring to the government’s stronger 2010 forecasts.
Shares in DBS, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, rose 4.6 percent to S$15.50, their highest level since early January.
Year-to-date, Singapore is up 4.2 percent compared to the double-digit gain in Indonesian stocks and a near 5 percent rise in Malaysian stocks over the same period.
Chiouyi Chang, a regional strategist at CIMB, said she is overweight Singapore and Indonesia, noting near-term momentum continues to favour these markets, especially with valuations still inexpensive.
She is neutral on Malaysia and underweight Thailand.
Markets in Thailand remained closed and will reopen on Friday after the three-day Songkran festival.
Shares in Bangkok fell 3.6 percent on Monday after deadly clashes between troops and anti-government protesters at the weekend which killed 23 people.
Protesters said on Wednesday there would be no more negotiations with the government.
Philippine stocks closed 0.006 percent higher on Wednesday.
The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index decreased by 0.21 points to 3,299.69. The all-share index went up by 4.67 point, or 0.22 percent, to 2,041.23.
The trade volume reached 1.29 billion shares worth 3.60 billion pesos (80.5 million U.S. dollars).
The Malaysia stock market ended higher here on Wednesday.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) was at 1,335.89 up 1.37 points or 0.10 percent, and the Emas was at 9,093.43 up 17.18 points or 0.18 percent.
There were 375 gainers, 3254 losers and 282 counters traded unchanged.
However, turnover decreased to 0.84 billion shares valued at 1. 36 billion ringgit Malaysia (422.36 million U.S. dollars), compared with 1.03 billion shares valued at 1.41 billion ringgit Malaysia (437.07 million U.S. dollars) on Tuesday.
Hong Kong stocks Wednesday closed 17.90 points, or 0.08 percent, slightly higher at 22,121.43,tracking gains on the Mainland and U.S. markets.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened 0.36 percent higher at 22, 183.05 and traded between 22,192.33 and 22,061.77 before closing.
Turnover totaled 57.96 billion HK dollars compared with Tuesday ’s 73.78 billion HK dollars.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 2.62 points, or 0. 02 percent, to close at 12,842.47.
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