Euro's Advance Sparks Gains in Asian Markets


Asian Markets rose Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 1.7% to 9,705 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% to 19,872. In China the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.3%% to 2,570.

The euro gained against the Japanese yen and other currencies today, providing a glimmer of hope that the European debt crisis may not curtail global growth. Markets may have been overreacting. Tim Schroeders of Pengana Capital in Melbourne told Bloomberg, "Perhaps people have been too pessimistic in estimating the impact of the European debt crisis on global growth."

Japanese exporters rose today with Clarion, which makes car stereos designed to work seamlessly with Apple iPods, surging 10.4%. Camera makers advanced with Nikon rallying 3.7% and Canon climbing 1.9%. Casio Computer leaped 3.4% and Advantest, which makes semiconductor testing equipment, rose 2.1%.

Nichirei, a company that distributes frozen foods including meat and fish spiked 4.8%. Nichirei is the sponsor of Tokyo Disneyland's Theater Orleans and the theme park's New York Deli. Kikoman gained 2.2%. The famous soy sauce company also produces alcoholic drinks and markets DelMonte products to the world beyond the U.S.

In Hong Kong, International Taifeng Holdings, a maker of bedding products, dived 19% in today's IPO. But long-standing Hong Kong blue chips gained: Esprit racked up a 1.6% gain on the euro's advance, since it's dependent on Europe for much of its revenue, and HSBC rose 1.4%. Wharf Holdings, the owner of many major HK businesses, including the gargantuan Ocean Terminal shopping mall with acres of top-notch shops and porthole windows looking out on Victoria Harbor, jumped 1.7%.

Gaming stocks were among today's winners. Tencent, a leading provider of online games in China, posted a 4.4% gain and bets on Macau Casino operators paid off. SJM Holdings rocketed up 4.8%, Melco International soared 4.6%, Wynn Macau surged 3.3% and Sand's China leaped 1.7%.

In China merchants have seen a serious increase in activity with retail sales rising 18.7% last month, according to Bloomberg. Shares in major retailers advanced today with Dashang Group, the operator of about 150 stores across China, rising 2.5% and GD Midea, a maker of electrical appliances from generators to all-important rice cookers, adding 0.7%. Refrigerator and air-conditioning company Qingdao Haier advanced 0.6%

Among top performers in Shanghai, beer specialist Chongqing Brewery soared 5.8% after successful talks with Carlsberg, which aims to increase its stake in the Chinese beer maker. If the numbers hold up and China proves its economy is on solid footing, the Chinese will have much to celebrate and raise a glass to.