Asian markets closed higher Wednesday with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbing 2.7% to 9,795 and China's Shanghai Composite Index rising 0.8% to 2,470. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6% to 20,561.
Japan got a boost from U.S. technology giant Intel's announcement that its third quarter sales beat analysts' expectations by nearly $1 billion. Intel's success looks to investors like a sign that tech stocks all over the world could be on their way up. Intel, which probably made the processor your computer is using right now, is predicting a record gross profit margin of 66% this year.
In Tokyo, shares in tech-related companies surged. Advantest, a maker of semiconductor testing equipment, spiked 5.7%, Sumco, which makes silicon wafers, climbed 4.3% and Elpida Memory rose 3.6%. "It's hugely significant that Intel, which represents high-tech companies, should report stronger-than-estimated results," Nikko Cordial Securities equities Manager Hirochi Nishi told Bloomberg. "There are many related companies, such as precision equipment and electrical-machinery makers, that will see strong demand for their shares today."
Other Japanese electronics companies were also carried on the wave. Taiyo Yuden, a maker of electronic components skyrocketed 7.6% and Tokyo Electron soared 4.1%. Consumer electronics companies also gained, with TDK climbing 5.1%, Canon shooting up 3.5% and Sharp advancing 2.2%. Sony rose 1.8%.
Japanese carmakers rallied today with Isuzu jumping 5.3% and Nissan leaping 3.9% and Mazda gaining 2.8%. Toyota this week announced it has plans to collaborate with Tesla Motors on electric versions of its RAV4 and Lexus RX vehicles. Toyota shares advanced 4% while Hino Motors, a maker of Japanese buses and trucks, surged 5.5%.
Chinese automakers also surged with Jiangling Motors getting a 5.2% boost from data showing net income for the first half of the year increased. Beiqi Foton Motor gained 2% and SAIC Motor advanced 1%.
In Hong Kong, Warren Buffett-backed electric car company BYD rose 1.4%. The company has requested a year's extension to prepare for its listing in China, on the hopes that the economic climate will be better in a year. BYD's share price is down over 30% from its high last April, says Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Hong Kong-listed tech stocks also rose today with Lenovo Group, a Chinese computer maker, soaring 3.2%, and Hong Kong's big clothing exporters surged, with Esprit racking up a 3.6% gain and Li & Fung leaping 2.4%.
Among today's losers in Hong Kong were BaWang International, a company making Chinese herbal shampoos that have been rumored to cause cancer. Reuters reports that BaWang has refuted the reports and says that its product meet safety requirements. Trading was halted today after shares fell 14.1%. So far no word from BaWang spokesman, Jacky Chan.