Hong Kong, June 15
Asian markets mostly rose on Friday amid hopes that the US Federal Reserve will embark on a fresh round of economic stimulus and Greece will return a pro-austerity government in weekend polls.
However, with Spain’s borrowing costs hitting another record high despite a $125 billion bank bailout, traders remain on edge while German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned leaders not to place too many expectations on Berlin.
Sydney advanced 0.37 percent, or 15.1 points, to 4,057.3, Hong Kong surged 2.26 percent, or 425.54 points, to 19,233.94 and Shanghai rose 0.47 percent, or 10.90 points, to 2,306.85.
Tokyo closed flat, nudging 0.43 points up to 8,569.32, with dealers unimpressed with the Bank of Japan’s decision to hold off any fresh stimulus moves for the time being.
Seoul closed 0.71 percent, or 13.32 points lower at 1,858.16.
In the United States weekly initial jobless claims rose more than expected. Consumer prices fell in May for the first time in two years, driven by falling gasoline prices, but core inflation rose 0.2 percent for the third straight month.
The numbers sparked speculation that the US central bank would start a third round of stimulus known as quantitative easing in a bid to kickstart the world’s biggest economy.
"Hopes for more easing steps bolstered risk appetite" in New York, said Takashi Hiroki, Monex Inc. chief strategist in Tokyo. "Market sentiment is brighter," he told Dow Jones Newswires.
On Wall Street the three main indexes advanced on hopes for more cash flooding into the market. The Dow gained 1.24 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 1.08 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.63 percent.
In Britain finance chief George Osborne and Bank of England governor Mervyn King said they would flood banks with about $155 billion in a bid to jump-start lending to households and businesses and fend off a potential storm from Europe.
But while investors absorbed the possibility of fresh cash in the system Europe’s troubles tempered sentiment.
On Thursday the interest rate on Spanish 10-year government bonds soared to 6.9650 percent, the highest since the birth of the single currency in 1999, and close to the danger-zone 7.0 percent considered unsustainable to service debts.
The jump came after Moody’s on Wednesday slashed Spain’s sovereign debt rating by three notches, saying the bank bailout would put extra strain on the country’s already weak finances.
Greek shares soared more than 10 percent on speculation that voters would elect a government committed to austerity policies key to the country receiving further bailout aid and staying in the euro.
The surge comes just days ahead of Sunday’s vote, which was called after an inconclusive poll at the start of May that sent shockwaves through global markets amid fears a Greek euro exit would have calamitous knock-on effects.
Merkel said "all eyes" would be on her at a key G20 summit next week as she looked to play down expectations that Europe’s top economy and effective paymaster could conjure up all the answers.
In early European trade, the euro bought $1.2620 and 99.44 yen, compared with $1.2630 and 100.21 yen in New York late Thursday.
The dollar stood at 78.78 yen, down from 79.34 yen.
Oil prices rose. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, was up 79 cents to $84.70 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for August delivery gained 78 cents to $97.95 in late afternoon.
Gold was worth $1,625.50 an ounce at 1120 GMT, compared with $1,620.10 late Thursday.
In other markets:
-- Manila closed 1.80 percent, or 90.22 points, down at 4,930.63.
Aboitiz Equity ventures fell 6.25 percent to 45 pesos, while sister firm Aboitiz Power ended 2.30 percent down at 31.80 pesos.
-- Wellington rose 0.91 percent, or 30.99 points, to 3,447.07.
Fletcher Building gained 2.28 percent to NZ$6.29, Telecom rose 3.13 percent to NZ$2.475 and Contact Energy was up 1.92 percent at NZ$4.78.
-- Singapore closed up 1.34 percent, or 37.19 points, to 2,811.00.
Palm oil producer Wilmar International was up 2.35 percent to Sg$3.49 while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp gained 2.96 percent at Sg$8.70.
-- Jakarta rose 0.7 percent, or 26.49 points, to 3,818.11.
Thermal coal producer Bumi rose 4.9 percent to 1,080 rupiah after it fell more than 15 percent in the previous four sessions, while Bank Mandiri is up 2.9 percent at 7,000 rupiah.
Bangkok rose 1.10 percent, or 12.72 points, to 1,165.73.
-- Oil giant PTT gained 3.07 percent to 336.00 baht, while energy firm Banpu added 2.18 percent to 468.00 baht.
-- Kuala Lumpur stocks ended 0.53 percent, or 8.29 points, higher at 1,579.23.
Telecommunications firm Axiata Group gained 0.37 percent to 5.41 ringgit, while budget carrier AirAsia added 0.27 percent to 3.66. Public Bank lost 0.29 percent to 13.66 ringgit.
-- Mumbai rose 1.63 percent, or 271.95 points, to 16,949.83.
The country’s biggest automaker Tata Motors was up 5.75 percent to 240.05 rupees while Tata Steel, the world’s seventh-largest steelmaker, was up 1.67 percent at 413.40.