Asian Markets Rise as Beijing Real Estate Climbs Higher Despite Smog

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Pollution near Tiananmen Square in BeijingShares in Asia closed higher Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.4% to 21,537.00 and China's Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.3% to 3,158. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index added 0.4% to end the day at 11,286.

Chinese commodity companies surged today as increasing signs of global recovery sparked demand for raw materials. Tongling Nonferrous Metals advanced 3%, Jiangxi Copper surged 2.7% and Gold Miner Zijin Mining gained 1.9%.

Real estate companies continued to climb in China today with
Jiangsu Phoenix Investment Property surging to its 10% daily limit. The company, formerly involved with making industrial glass and plastics has shifted into real estate in a move that helped it return to profitability last year, according to Bloomberg. Other builders continued to make gains with major players China Vanke rising 1.9% and Poly Real Estate adding 0.5%.

In Hong Kong, property companies doing business in China made gains today. Cheung Kong, which owns La Grand Ville -- a sumptuous development that includes luxury villas located near the Beijing Airport, rose 2.5% and Soho China, which markets Japanese style home offices, rose 3.9%. Beijing's wealthy residents and expats live in high style in compounds that include all mod cons and funky, cutting edge designs. They create indoor havens for themselves in a city where you can actually feel the pollution in your lungs. One popular iPhone app is Beijing Air, which allows users to check the air quality before attempting a stroll or jog outdoors. It's linked to a monitoring station atop the U.S. Embassy, so can't be tampered with by image-conscious Chinese officials.

Other Hong Kong builders made gains today: China Overseas surged 2.2%, New World Development gained 1.2%, Sino Land rose 1.2%, Hang Lung advanced 1.4%, Sun Hung Kai Property added 0.7% and Henderson Land inched up 0.4%.

Hong Kong oil and chemical companies fared well today with CNOOC soaring 2.4%, Hong Kong & China Gas advancing 2.3% and Petrochina gaining 1.8%.

Yue Yuen, athletic shoe maker to the world, tumbled another 7%. The maker of well-known brands from Puma and Adidas to Nike, yesterday announced plans to take on massive loans.

In Japan automakers helped push the Nikkei up in it's eighth week of gains, fueling hopes that the country's economy may finally be shaping up. Toyota posted an increase in U.S. sales for March -- the first in three months. Toyota shares rose 1.5%. Mazda surged 3.4%, Honda gained 1.4% in today's trading, Isuzu added 1.2% and Mitsubishi was up 0.8%. Jtekt, which makes parts for Toyota, advanced 0.6%.

Toshiba, which makes high tech electronics posted a 3.5% gain for the day, computer network company NTT Data Corp. climbed 2.7% and Advantest, maker of semiconductor testing equipment gained 1.7%. Now if only those Japanese tech companies can figure out a way to clear all that smog in China, business will be booming.
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