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Business

Asian markets hail Obama’s announcement, Europe slows down

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-25

Boosted by the Citigroup rescue plan and massive stimulus package announced by US President-elect Barack Obama, Tokyo markets closed high. Meanwhile Europe shares slipped back, taking a realistic appraisal after yesterday’s rally.

Obama unveils economic team, urges "swift" action. (Click here to read.)

 

Japan's Nikkei average rose 5.2 percent on Tuesday, its biggest one-day gain in two weeks, but further gains were limited as investors worried how long euphoria over a Citigroup bailout would last.

Mizuho Financial Group and other banks were boosted by the massive Citigroup bailout and subsequent Wall Street rally, but some profit-taking capped gains as the yen crept higher against the dollar.

Wall Street soared on Monday, posting its best two-day run since the aftermath of the 1987 stock market crash, as news of the Citigroup bailout spurred a relief rally that spilled over into early Tokyo trade.

But market players said worry about the long-term economy and the sustainability of Wall Street's gains weighed on trade in the afternoon, along with a stronger yen.

"Though U.S. shares may rise a bit more, these gains are likely to be limited by concern about more bad indicators that will show the poor state of the economy," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Shinko Securities.

"As for Citi, they just injected funds in October, so this raises the possibility that other places may need more funds, too, even as the economy worsens."

Other market players echoed this, saying the impact of the Citi news was limited at best for Japan and it was doubtful how long Wall Street's rise -- which has seen the Dow Jones industrial average gain nearly 900 points in two trading days -- will last.

"Will the government really go and help every firm that gets into trouble?" said Masayoshi Okamoto, head of dealing at Jujiya Securities.

"It seems pretty clear that the United States is heading for deflation, which is likely to hit banks hard. And if the U.S. goes into deflation, so will the world."

U.S. stock futures climbed to positive from negative territory shortly before the Tokyo close, apparently providing one last boost.

The benchmark Nikkei ended with a gain of 413.14 points at 8,323.93 after earlier rising to 8,356.83, while the broader Topix rose 3.6 percent to 831.58.

Expectations and exporters

The market also gained on expectations for fiscal measures after President-elect Barack Obama promised to jolt the faltering U.S. economy with a stimulus package, raising the outlook for beleaguered exporters worldwide who depend on U.S. consumer demand.
 
Buying on this later faded a bit as investors reckoned that it may well be months before any such packages take effect.
 
"Plus, no matter what the package might be, it won't be in time to help this year's Christmas season," said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management, noting that Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp were having a rough time on Tuesday.
 
Canon Inc was one of the best performing exporters, rising 7.8 percent to 2,905 yen even after President Tsuneji Uchida told Reuters that the digital camera market may contract next year.

Honda Motor Co climbed 7.2 percent to 2,090 yen, as investors shrugged off Honda's plan to build fewer cars in Japan, Europe and North America -- a reflection of an increasingly bleak outlook for sales as the global economic crisis discourages big-ticket purchases.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 11.5 percent to 340,000 yen and Mizuho Financial Group rose 9.2 percent to 247,700 yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 2.9 percent to 506 yen.
 
Seiji Sugiyama, the head of Japan's banking lobby,  said on Tuesday that the nation's lenders should consider reducing the amount of stocks they hold in other companies.
 
Domestic banks generally take big stakes in corporate clients as a way to cement business ties, but they have been hurt by these holdings amid plunges in Japanese share prices.

Trade picked up slightly, with 2.15 billion shares traded on the Tokyo exchange's first section compared to last week's daily average of 2.1 billion.

Advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by more than 3 to 1. 

Date created : 2008-11-25

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