• Asian shares mostly up after new Wall St record


    HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday following another record close on Wall Street as US private jobs growth picked up, but Shanghai gave up early gains despite China unveiling a mini stimulus program.

    Global shares have enjoyed a broad rally this week following upbeat manufacturing data in key economies, while investors are keenly awaiting the release of a US non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

    Tokyo added 0.84 percent, or 125.56 points, to 15,071.88, Sydney gained 0.12 percent, or 6.6 points, to close at 5,409.9 and Hong Kong was 0.18 percent higher, jumping 41.14 points to 22,565.08
    But Seoul slipped 0.18 percent, or 3.55 points, to 1,993.70 and Shanghai shed 0.74 percent, or 15.29 points, to 2,043.70.

    Beijing on Wednesday announced a series of spending measures
    aimed at kickstarting the Chinese economy, a key driver of global growth but one which has shown signs of slowing in recent months.

    The plan includes extra spending on railways, improving low-income housing and tax relief for small businesses, which have been struggling along with the economy.

    Wednesday’s announcement comes after a weak run of Chinese indicators, including on trade, investment and industrial output. The economy grew an annual 7.7 percent in 2013, the same as in 2012—which was the slowest since 1999, while leaders have set a target of 7.5 percent for this year.

    “It’s very obvious that the leaders feel the need to stabilize growth,” Mizuho economist Shen Jianguang told Dow Jones Newswires.

    “Overall, the 7.5 percent growth target means that the government still cares a lot about economic growth.”

    However, the government made no mention of monetary policy, such as a reduction in the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve, or an interest rate cut.



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