Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

An Asian Stock Market Beats Peers But Few Traders Get to Profit

Australia’s stocks finally got a chance to outperform most of their Asia-Pacific peers, but few were around to appreciate it.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose as much as 1.2 percent Monday as China’s official factory gauge climbed to a five-year high, signaling robust growth in Australia’s largest trading partner. The gauge closed 0.8 percent higher, the most in two months. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed and Japan’s stock gauges were mixed. Australia’s main stock measure has closed for the day, while Philippines, Singapore and Thailand’s benchmarks are slowly gaining ground.

There isn’t much to read into Australia’s strong performance Monday given that much of the country’s financial capital is observing the Labour Day holiday, said Steven Daghlian, an analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s securities unit. “Volumes are extremely light,” Daghlian said by phone in Sydney.

Volume on the Australian benchmark was about 39 percent below the thirty-day average. Regional competition was thin as well, with exchanges closed for holidays in Hong Kong, China, India and South Korea.

The most notable Aussie mover was Beach Energy Ltd., which rose as much as 21 percent, the most in 17 years. The stock exited a trading halt to raise equity after agreeing to buy Origin Energy Ltd.’s Lattice Energy.

Despite Monday’s rise, Australia’s benchmark index is still the world’s second-worst performing developed market this year, hurt by a series of banking scandals and a local earnings season that failed to garner bullish sentiment.

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