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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Shares rally on hopes govts to fight crisis ]

Shares rally on hopes govts to fight crisis

Shares rally on hopes govts to fight crisis
Oil rebounds more than $1 to above $43 a barrel
December 10, 2008 - By Rafael Nam (Reuters)

Asian stocks rallied more than 3 percent to a one-month high on Wednesday on hopes governments worldwide will help out ailing industries and implement stimulus measures as they fight back against a deepening economic crisis.

The White House and U.S. Congressional Democrats reached a tentative agreement on a bailout for beleaguered U.S. auto makers, sending counterparts such as Honda Motor sharply higher. Hopes are also rising in Asia for government-led help for key sectors such as technology.

Global miner Rio Tinto was in focus after it announced plans to cut capital spending, slash jobs and boost asset sales but said it would hold its dividend steady.

European shares were set to open marginally higher, while oil rebounded more than $1 to above $43 a barrel from a slump on Tuesday. Assets seen as safer havens during volatile times such as the Japanese yen and U.S. Treasuries pulled back.

"What we are seeing right now may be a gradual turnaround in global stocks as liquidity in financial markets is seen slowly improving, helped by the latest moves by governments," said Jun Ji-won, a market analyst at Kiwoom.Com Securities in Seoul.

"Stabilisation in foreign exchange is also helping."

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 3.8 percent at 0700 GMT, after earlier hitting its highest level since Nov. 12. Japan's Nikkei average gained 3.2 percent.

The Asia-Pacific index is now up more than 20 percent since hitting a five-year low on Nov. 21, but has still fallen by more than half this year.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT

Governments worldwide are looking to spend their way out of sharply slowing economic growth via various stimulus measures, while expectations are rising they will also step in to help sectors and companies in trouble.

U.S. stock futures gained more than 1 percent after the White House and U.S. congressional Democrats reached an agreement in principle on a $15 billion proposal to bail out U.S. auto makers, potentially staving off bankruptcies that would have roiled global markets.

Help from governments could spread beyond helping banks to other industries elsewhere as well. In Taiwan, struggling memory chip maker ProMOS asked for government assistance, sending shares up 6.5 percent.

The rebound in global markets comes against a backdrop of falling interest rates and plunging commodity prices.

The combined actions may be bearing fruit. Australia's consumer sentiment was surprisingly stronger than expected in December on the back of sharp falls in interest rates and petrol prices, according to data on Wednesday.

Main stock indexes in South Korea Taiwan and Hong Kong rose 3 to 4 percent each, while shares in Singapore and India advanced more than 2 percent.

Australia and Shanghai saw smaller gains.

DEGREE OF CAUTION

Still, signs of caution are not hard to find, casting doubts on a sustained rebound in global markets.

The World Bank warned on Wednesday economies in East Asia will slow substantially in 2009 due to the broad effects of the credit crisis, despite government attempts to boost domestic demand.

Data meanwhile showed Japan's core machinery orders fell more-than-expected, underlining a weakness in corporate capital spending. In China, wholesale price inflation collapsed last month, sparking fears of a period of sustained global deflation.

Still, gains in stocks helped push down the yen against the dollar and the euro. The Japanese currency has strengthened this year as investors, shunning most types of risk, unwound trades that had used the low-yielding yen.

"The uncertainties that have been dogging the market are being removed one by one," said Hideaki Inoue, chief manager of forex trading at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank in Japan.

"Equity markets are bottoming out. Measures by governments to help economies are also being seen in a positive light. All these factors have helped reduce market volatility."

The dollar rose 0.5 percent from late U.S. trading on Tuesday to 92.54 yen, while the euro advanced 0.8 percent to 119.83 yen.

Emerging currencies that had recently been under fire rose to multi-week highs on reviving demand for Asian assets.

The Indonesian rupiah gained almost 1.4 percent to 10,900 per dollar, its highest in a month. The South Korean won jumped 3.8 percent to end the session at about 1,393.70 per dollar, having hit its highest in almost four weeks.

Oil prices pared Tuesday's steep losses to rise above $43 a barrel, though caution remains ahead of U.S. government data later in the day expected to show a fall in U.S. distillate and gasoline inventories.


(Source: Financial Mirror, http://www.financialmirror.com/News/Cyprus_and_World_News/13055)



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