Asian markets climb as Tokyo wins 2020 Olympic bid and China exports accelerate

HONG KONG – Upbeat news in Asia’s two biggest economies pushed the region’s stock markets higher on Monday. Japanese shares rallied thanks to Tokyo’s Olympic bid victory, which helped lift sentiment, while Chinese stocks surged following positive economic data that added to a picture of gradual recovery in the world’s No. 2 economy.

The Asian rally didn’t translate to Europe, where shares were flat in early trading. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies fell 0.1 per cent to 6,538.14 while Germany’s DAX advanced 0.1 per cent at 8,286.40. France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.2 per cent to 4,040.21.

U.S. stocks were poised to rise. Dow futures rose 0.3 per cent to 14,951.00 while S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 per cent to 1,658.50.

The Nikkei 225 jumped nearly 2.5 per cent to close at 14,205.23, and the yen fell after Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and a revised estimate showed the economy grew faster than previously reported in the second quarter. The Olympics are expected to provide a welcome boost, much of it in the construction sector, where the government is already spending heavily as part of its stimulus program.

“For an economy that is desperate to snap out of 20 years of deflation this is a huge shot in the arm,” said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne, who estimated the price tag would fall somewhere between the $13.9 billion spent for the London 2012 games and the $43 billion on the 2008 Beijing games.

“Business confidence will improve as industries see the effects of increased government and private spending over the next seven years, plus never discount ‘national pride’ and the effect it will have on consumer spending and household spending,” Lucas said in a market commentary.

Chinese stocks rose after data showed that the country’s exports accelerated while inflation edged lower last month, raising hopes that the world’s second largest economy will gradually recover from a painful downturn. It’s the latest sign that China is stabilizing after growth fell to a two-decade low of 7.5 per cent in the second quarter. Shanghai’s benchmark index advanced 3.4 per cent to 2,212.52 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent to 22,750.65.

Shares of China’s biggest oil producer, PetroChina, climbed 1.3 per cent in Hong Kong after the company denied news reports that five executives are being questioned amid a widening corruption investigation.

Australian stocks gained after a weekend election victory that resulted in the country’s first conservative government in six years, though the advance was modest because the victory was widely expected, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rising 0.7 per cent to 5,181.50. Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has pledged to repeal a 30 per cent tax on coal and iron ore miners’ profits, which could help mining and resources companies. Mining shares outperformed the index, with BHP Billiton up 1.4 per cent in Sydney, and Rio Tinto 1 per cent higher.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi rose 1 per cent to 1,974.67. Benchmarks in Singapore, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia also rose.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was down 54 cents to $109.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.16, or 2 per cent, to close at $110.53 on Friday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3195 from $1.3173 late Friday, while the dollar rose to 99.42 yen from 99.10 yen.