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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Asia Ends Higher; Nikkei Gains on Weaker Yen

Asian stocks rallied on Wednesday as investors snapped up riskier assets on attractive valuations, while Japanese exporters were helped by the yen's weakness on expectations of interest rate rises in Europe and the United States.
Renewed demand for shares came despite concerns the global economy could be hurt by Japan's struggle to contain the world's worst nuclear crisis in decades, conflicts in Libya and the Middle East and Europe's festering sovereign debt problems. 
The yen slipped as low as 83 [JPY=X  83.02    0.55  (+0.67%)   ] versus the dollar, well below the 76.25 all-time high, which it scaled in the week after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast  away from March 18 peaks and which triggered a rare joint G7 intervention.
The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index [.FTFCNBCA  6857.60    76.25  (+1.12%)], which measures markets across Asia, extended gains, and was up over 1 percent by mid-day.
Japan's Nikkei rallied after the dollar rose against the yen. The Nikkei [.N225 9708.79    249.71  (+2.64%)   ] closed up 2.64 percent. The broader Topix index advanced 1.87 percent.
That lifted post-quake underperformers like Nissan Motor which added 3.84 percent. Nissan has lost almost 13 percent since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan over two weeks ago.
Both Nissan and Toyota Motor, which have suffered much of loss of domestic production due to disruptions in the supply chain, were among the most actively traded shares by turnover on the Tokyo stock exchange's main board.
Shares of Tokyo Electric Power slid another 17.7 percent to 466 yen on Wednesday, on top of a 47-year low hit a day earlier as the government pondered whether to nationalize the operator of a stricken nuclear plant.
Seoul Rises on Wall Street Gains, Foreign Buying
Seoul shares traded higher, drawing support from gains in technology and banking stocks and continued buying by foreign investors. 
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) [.KS11  2091.38    19.25 (+0.93%)] ended up 0.42 percent at 2,080.92 points.
Carmakers edged higher with the country's top automaker Hyundai Motortouching a new record high, up 1.5 percent to 210,000.
Shipbuilders also gained. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the world's No.2 shipyard, advanced 4.2 percent after its senior executive said Japan's lost nuclear capacity could be a catalyst to strong LNG orders ahead.
Hyundai Heavy Industries climbed 4.6 percent.
Mask makers jumped on reports that fears over radiation from Japan's nuclear incidents had boosted sales. Clean&Science jumped the intraday limit of 15 percent.
Energy issues bucked the upward trend, retreating after recent gains on rising oil prices. SK Innovation fell 3.64 percent and S-Oil lost 4.7 percent.
Australia Gains; Chemgenex Trims Losses
Australian stocks jumped 1.4  percent to close at a 3 and a half week high, with the miners leading  solid gains across the board at the same time as the Aussie  dollar hit a 29-year peak. 
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index [.AXJO  4822.20    66.30  (+1.39%)] picked up 66.4 points to reach 4,822.2.
Australian biotech firm Chemgenex shed 3.7 percent on worries thatCephalon [CEPH  58.75    1.18  (+2.05%)   ] would pull its A$225 million bid for it after Cephalon itself received a $5.7 billion takeover offer from Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.
Qantas Airways, Australia's top airline, rose 1.9 percent after saying it wouldcut capacity growth, retire some planes early and trim management jobs to help offset rising fuel prices and the impact of natural disasters in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Equinox Minerals rose 1.8 percent after its takeover target Lundin Miningcalled off a rival merger plan with Inmet Mining and said it would try to flush out other takeover offers.
Riversdale Mining jumped to a high of A$16.45. It closed up 2.4 percent at A$16.44. Investors bet suitor Rio Tinto would reach its lowered target of a 47 percent stake and pay A$16.50 a share for the Mozambique-focused coal miner.
Rio declared its A$3.9 billion bid unconditional on Tuesday even if it fails to secure a majority stake. If it fails to reach 47 percent, it will pay A$16 a share. As of late Tuesday, it had acquired 41.5 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.35 percent to 3,433.16.
In Greater China, shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong traded in different directions.
The Shanghai Composite [.SSEC  2955.77    -2.31  (-0.08%)] slipped 0.1 percent, with lingering worries over further monetary tightening, possibly next month, keeping a lid on the market.
Shares of Agricultural Bank of China or Agbank [601288.SS  2.75    0.01 (+0.36%)] gained after it posted a 46% rise in 2010 net profit to 94.87 billion yuan. It's shares in Hong Kong were trading higher, up 2.4 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index [HK;HSI  23451.43    391.07  (+1.7%)] ended 1.7 percent higher to 23,449.95.

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