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16 April 2024

Asian stocks surge amid hopes crisis is easing

By Agencies

Asian shares rose for a second straight session after economic data from China and the United States helped ease fears about the global downturn, sending some safe-haven assets such as bonds sharply lower.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 2.7 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell two per cent on concern more companies will seek to raise capital selling discounted shares. All other benchmarks rose, except New Zealand and Vietnam.

Markets in South Korea and Hong Kong also advanced 2-3 per cent each. Indexes in India, Taiwan and Singapore posted more modest gains.

Hong Kong stocks rose for the first time in three days on speculation China's stimulus measures will revive growth in the world's third-largest economy.

The Hang Seng Index added 287.00, or 2.3 per cent, to close at 13,063.89, halting a two-day, 3.8 per cent drop. The benchmark measure has retreated 9.2 per cent this year, extending last year's 48 per cent slump, which was the biggest annual decline since 1974.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.9 per cent to 83.45 in Tokyo, with three stocks advancing for every one that fell. The gauge has dropped 33 per cent since the end of August as the credit crisis triggered the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

The improved mood followed reports showing a rise in China's official manufacturing index and a surge in bank lending, while a surprise gain in US pending home sales were seen as good news from two economies critical to Asian exports.

Hyundai Motor surged eight per cent to 51,900 won in Seoul as Asia's car makers boosted their US market share to a record in January. Kia Motors climbed 12 per cent to 8,950 won.

Toyota Motor gained 4.5 per cent to 3,010 yen in Tokyo. Its US sales slid 32 per cent, less than GM and Ford Motors.