Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday on hopes for more stimulus in China. Hong Kong’s market was steady after the arrests of dozens of pro-democracy protesters as police acted on court orders to clear barricades from major streets.
KEEPING SCORE: South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,986.93 and Australia’s SP/ASX 200 rose 0.1 percent to 5,401.70. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.2 percent to 24,072.19 and Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 17,333.52. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.7 percent to 2,622.14. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
CHINA STIMULUS: Investors appeared to shrug off data showing weaker industrial profits, as the markets kept their upward momentum following an interest rate hike by the central bank late last week. That action has raised hopes China will take further measures to prevent growth from dropping below 7 percent.
THE QUOTE: Tensions from Hong Kong’s “Occupy” movement have largely abated, reassuring investors over the Asian financial center’s stability, Ryan Huang, a market strategist at IG, wrote in a market commentary. While “we did see some pockets of street clashes, the situation has been brought under control,” Huang said. “As business goes back to normal and consumer sentiment returns, this will be a positive for markets.”
WALL STREET: The U.S. stock market eked out another record close on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, but gains were capped by data showing only modest growth in U.S. consumer spending and a sharp decline in plans for business investment. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 12.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,827.75. Standard Poor’s 500 index rose 5.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,072.83. The index has now closed at an all-time high on 47 occasions this year.
ENERGY: Oil prices slid further ahead of OPEC’s Thursday meeting. Benchmark crude was down 84 cents to $72.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed Wednesday at $73.69, down 40 cents from the day before. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $1.20 cents to $76.55 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar edged lower to 117.54 yen from 117.63 yen late Wednesday. The euro was virtually flat at $1.2502, compare with $1.2207.