Asian stocks up, Japan’s Nikkei extends gains
BANGKOK (AP) — Japan’s benchmark stock index powered higher again Tuesday, extending a rally sparked last week after the Bank of Japan announced a bold program to revive the country’s moribund economy. Other Asian stock markets were modestly higher.
The head of Japan’s central bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, on Thursday delivered on promises to take aggressive action to shake Japan from nearly two decades of growth-crippling deflation. He unveiled plans to pump huge amounts of money into the economy via government bond purchases and pursue a 2 percent inflation target in order to spark lending and spending.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5 percent to 13,260.04, extending gains for a fifth straight session, as the yen traded at its weakest since May 2009.
With Japan’s monetary battle plan now laid out, investors are turning to quarterly earnings reports from major U.S. companies. The reporting season began in earnest late Monday when Alcoa, a major maker of aluminum, turned in a mixed report. Its earnings were ahead of expectations but its revenue missed forecasts.
Later this week, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase announce their first-quarter performance. Investors are expecting strong earnings in 2013.
“If the banks can show credit growth over this period, then we may actually start to see real confidence returning to US markets,” said Evan Lucas of IG Markets.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.8 percent to 21,890.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.3 percent to 4,967.70. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore, and Indonesia also rose.
South Korea’s Kospi went against the trend, dropping 0.4 percent to 1,910.09 as tension brewed on the Korean Peninsula amid joint U.S.-South Korean military drills. Pyongyang recalled all its workers from the Kaesong industrial complex, which is managed by South Koreans and staffed by North Korean workers.
Wall Street ended higher Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to 14,613.48. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.6 percent to 1,563.07. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.6 percent to 3,222.25.
Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 18 cents to $93.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 66 cents to finish at $93.36 a barrel on Monday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3055 from $1.3007 late Monday in New York. The dollar rose to 99.35 yen from 99.24 yen.
Follow Pamela Sampson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pamelasampson