Asian stock markets gain on China stimulus plan
By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, AP Business Writer
HONG KONG – Asian stock markets gained strongly
Monday, with Shanghai's index spiking more than
7 percent, as investors welcomed China's $586 billion
stimulus plan aimed at countering the effects of a global
slowdown on its economy. European markets opened
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock average surged 498.43 points,
or 5.8 percent, to 9,081.43, buoyed also by a weakening
yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 501.20 points,
or 3.5 percent, to 14,744.63, though traded well off its
In mainland China, where the benchmark Shanghai
Composite Index has fallen by more than two-thirds since
peaking last October, the index soared 7.3 percent to
1,874.80. Markets in India, Australia, Singapore and
South Korea joined the region's advance.
On Sunday, China unveiled a massive 4 trillion yuan
($586 billion) stimulus package in hopes of keeping
economic growth from falling too fast. Demand from the
U.S. and the country's other vital export markets has been
waning as the global financial crisis takes an economic
China's economic growth slowed to 9 percent in the third
quarter, the lowest level in five years and a sharp decline
from 11.9 percent the year before -- perilously low for a
government that needs to create jobs for millions of new
workers and for other Asian countries that have come to
depend heavily on Chinese demand.
"The global economy is in trouble and Chinese authorities
understand that they can't wait anymore ... They're aware
that exports next year will be terrible given the weakening
economies in the U.S. and Europe," said Winson Fong, a
Hong Kong-based managing director at SG Asset
Management, which oversees about $3 billion in equities
"This has been overdue," he said. "Investors in mainland
China have been waiting for a complete rescue package
since the beginning of the year."
China's stimulus plan -- a mix of spending, subsidies,
looser credit policies and tax cuts that will benefit low-cost
housing, rural infrastructure, power grids, social welfare
programs and other areas -- lifted shares across most
"You can imagine how excited investors are after seeing
their long-term expectations become reality," said Gao
Lingzhi, a strategist at Great Wall Securities in Shenzhen.
Property, resource and financial plays were among the
biggest gainers, although energy firms also advanced.
Top cement maker Anhui Conch and leading steel
producer Baoshan Iron & Steel both spiked the daily
maximum of 10 percent in mainland trade on expectations
of new construction spending.
AP reporters Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai and Shino
Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.
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