The analyst principally responsible for the production of this research report is: Howard Humphreys, Director & Lead Research Analyst, Seismic Research
Asian stocks advance on strong economic reports
Returning from the Australia Day public holiday, Australian stocks led Asian markets higher today, despite a soft lead from Wall Street, as a National Australia Bank (NAB) report showed Australia's business confidence surged by the most in a decade. The ASX 200 closed 1.1% higher, with volume about 20% above the 30-day average, after the NAB said its gauge of Australian business confidence surged from -9 in November to 3 in December; after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made its sixth interest rate cut in 14 months.
Insurers were a drag on the local market today, however, as investors grew concerned about potential claims relating to the flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.
Korea's KOSPI index also rallied today, rebounding from yesterday's loss on the back of a report that manufacturer's confidence expectations increased to 72 for February, up from 70 for January. Banks, meanwhile, led Japan's market higher after the Nikkei newspaper said the largest banks in Japan will post strong profit results.
To read today's report in PDF in full, see link at the top of this story.
(For a more comprehensive summary of last night's market action see FNArena's Overnight Report.)
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