Forex Pros – Asian stock markets were broadly higher on Thursday, as market sentiment was boosted by upbeat corporate earnings, while Japanese exporters advanced amid optimism over the U.S. economic recovery.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.43%, South Korea’s Kospi Composite climbed 0.73%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.48%.
Hong Kong-listed shares of the world’s largest lender by market value, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China jumped 1.5% after it said 2010 net profit rose more-than-expected. 2010 profit rose by 28% from a year earlier to CNY165.2 billion, exceeding expectations for profit of CNY163.8 billion.
Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth largest bank saw shares gain 2.5% after it reported full-year income of CNY39 billion, 30% higher from a year earlier.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei erased all losses since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as exporters performed strongly, boosted by the outlook for export earnings.
Consumer electronics giant Sony saw shares climb 1.1%, Sharp surged 4.1%, while shares in digital camera maker Canon added 1.75%.
Meanwhile, trading of Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, was suspended amid fears the company could soon be nationalized.
Bank of America said in a report earlier in the day that TEPCO could face compensation claims of up to JPY10 trillion under a worst-case scenario. The report added that, “Shareholders are very likely to be held liable, through capital reductions of a certain amount”.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were mixed after the open. The EURO STOXX 50 shed 0.17%, France’s CAC 40 was down 0.15%, Germany’s DAX eased up 0.08%, while the FTSE 100 added 0.1%.
Later in the day, the euro zone was to publish preliminary data on consumer price inflation, while the U.S. was to publish a government report on initial jobless claims.
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