Asian stocks gain on Toyota result
Markets have been volatile the past few weeks as indicators from around the globe give mixed signals about the strength of the economic recovery. The latest figures from the U.S. on the services sector and private sector hiring provided a positive cue for traders in Asia but sentiment is fragile and can turn on a dime.
Also lifting the mood was Toyota’s return to profit and upgraded earnings forecast. The world’s top car maker on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit of 190.5 billion yen ($2.2 billion), reversing from red ink a year earlier, and raised its annual profit forecast to 340 billion yen ($4 billion) from 310 billion yen ($3.6 billion).
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index gained 119.96 points, or 1.3 percent, to 9,609.30 despite strength in the yen, which if sustained can hurt the earnings of the nation’s exporters.
The index was boosted by gains in automakers. Shares in Toyota Motor Corp. climbed 1.1 percent, Honda Motor co. was up 2.1 percent and Nissan Motor Co. added 2.5 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 percent at 4,568.10 and markets in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand also rose.
But several major indexes were slightly lower reflecting caution ahead of the U.S. jobs report for July on Friday which will provide a key reading on the health of the economy.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 21,511.26, South Korea’s Kospi was off 0.5 percent at 1,781.09 and the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.6 percent to 2,621.99.
In New York Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average increased 44.05 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,680.43, supported by encouraging U.S. jobs and service industry data.
U.S. private-sector employers added a better-than-expected 42,000 net jobs during July, according to payrolls processor ADP, which releases a monthly employment survey.
A U.S. industry trade group also said growth in America’s service sector picked up in July, in a good sign for the overall economy and the job market. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday its service sector index rose to 54.3 last month, up from 53.8 in June. Levels above 50 signal growth. July was the seventh straight month of expansion.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to 86.05 yen from 86.27 yen in New York late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.3151 from $1.3159.
Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 34 cents at $82.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 8 cents to settle at $82.47 on Wednesday.