Impressive Earnings Send Asian Markets Higher

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Asian markets rose Wednesday with Japan's Nikkei surging 2.7% to 9,753. In China the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.3% to 2,634 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6% to 21,091.

Japanese investors saw electronics companies shares shoot up after blue chip companies reported far better-than-expected earnings. Canon's net income for the last quarter increased nearly four-fold as compared with the same quarter last year, earning the camera maker $779 million, according to Bloomberg. Other companies like Sanyo Electric also reported impressive earnings. "People are buying on optimism the global economy is on an uptrend after seeing those positive earnings reports," one senior strategist in Tokyo's Daiwa Asset Management office told Bloomberg.

Investors plowed money into Japanese electronics companies today, sending Canon surging 5.6% and Sanyo climbing 4.4%. Panasonic Corp, which acquired Sanyo in 2009 making it one of the world's largest electronics makers, advanced 2.5%. Electronic equipment maker Kyocera gained 4.7%.

Semiconductor companies and chip makers also made headway with Advantest rocketing up 5.7% and Elpida Memory rising 2.4%.

Japanese exporters got a boost from a fall in the value of the yen against both the dollar and the euro, increasing company profits once earnings are converted back to the home currency. Honda rose 2.2%, Mazda advanced 1.4% and Toyota added 1.3%. Isuzu soared 4% on recent reports that the car maker's operating profits for the last quarter could total more than $229 million. The company is also poised to supply trucks to Utilimaster Corp., which will market them as utility vans, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, skyrocketed 6.8%.

Big gains were also racked up in the food sector where Nippon Suisan Kaisha, which sells fish and seafood products, rallied 5.5%, Maruha Nichiro, a maker of processed food for both humans and pets, reaped a 5.2% gain. Kikkoman, the world-famous soy sauce company, advanced 2.1%.

In China, cement makers headed north as the government divulged plans to develop the industry. Anhui Conch and Huaxin Cement both leaped to the 10% daily limit and Tangshan Jidong Cement gained 4.6%.

Airlines also surged on speculation that demand for flights will increase in Asia. China Eastern Airlines jumped 5.6%, China Southern Airlines soared 4.1% and Air China advanced 2.2%.

In Hong Kong a piece of prime real estate on The Peak was auctioned off to the privately owned Nan Fung Group. The final price of $1.3 billion makes this the third most expensive land sale in the territory, according to Reuters. Today the losing bidders slid: Hang Lung tumbled 2.8%, New World Development lost 1.5% and Henderson Land and Sun Hung Kai both sank 1.1%.

Hong Kong banks closed in positive territory, with Standard Chartered gaining 3.3% and HSBC rising 2.6%.

Other Hong Kong winners included Peak Sport Products, a sportswear maker with more than 5,000 retail outlets in China. The company sponsors sports teams, including the Iraqi soccer team and Lebanon's national basketball team and today its shares rallied 8.5%.
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