Asian stocks hold on to gains

<p>Asian stocks continued their gains this week, adding modestly on the back of renewed regional optimism. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.6% higher in […]</p>

Asian stocks continued their gains this week, adding modestly on the back of renewed regional optimism.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.6% higher in early afternoon Tokyo trading and looks set to post its fourth weekly gain.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index bucked the trend and was last trading around 1.8% lower as profit taking dragged down stocks.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 was 0.3% higher with Linc Energy adding 16% to its share price on speculation over corporate activity, although nothing was officially confirmed.

In corporate highlights, Volkswagen said its sales in China and Hong Kong grew 18% last year to a record high level, driven by sedans and a large rise in demand for luxury vehicles like Audi.

In currencies, the Australian dollar remained above 1.03 against the US dollar, while the Euro managed to maintain its recent gains above 1.28 against the dollar.

In other regional currencies, the Korean Won was slightly higher at 1,149 against the dollar after South Korea’s central bank maintained its lending costs, unchanged for a seventh month as regional inflation concerns ease.

Taiwan’s dollar was near a two-month high on speculation current President Ma Ying-jeou will retain his position following this weekend’s election. The leader is known to have improved economic ties with China and a continuation of this is perceived to be healthy for Taiwan’s economy.

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