Asian markets ended mixed yesterday Wednesday July 11, trimming earlier losses sparked by a fall on Wall Street and concerns about Italy’s finances that stoked fresh fears about the eurozone.
Stocks were also pushed lower by the prospect that Germany may delay the launch of a permanent bailout fund for the eurozone, dealers said.
Trade was lacklustre as Asian bourses awaited more key data from China later this week, as well as the outcome of a two-day Bank of Japan policy meeting, due to end today.
“It is pretty quiet. There are not a lot of people taking big positions, either long or short,” John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Tokyo ended flat, edging down after a tumble on Wall Street while a strong yen also weighed on Japanese equities. The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.08 per cent, or 6.73 points, to 8,851.00.
Chinese stocks also erased earlier losses to finish higher, as infrastructure shares rose on expectations of more government spending to boost the slowing economy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.51 per cent or 10.94 points, at 2,175.38.
“… overall sentiment is still cautious,” Jiang Shiqing, an analyst at Industrial Securities, said.
Sydney lost 0.04 per cent, or 1.52 points, to 4,096.50 points and Seoul lost 0.17 per cent, or 3.06 points, to close at 1,826.39.
HONG KONG: STOCKS closed 0.12 per cent higher yesterday, snapping a three-day losing streak as strong gains for property developers offset heavy losses for mainland banks.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 23.51 points to finish at 19,419.87.
SINGAPORE: SOUTHEAST Asian stock indices gained for the second straight day yesterday, powered by telecoms stocks, but market turnover was relatively sluggish as doubts remained over the eurozone’s ability to tackle its debt crisis.
In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index closed up 0.83 per cent, or 24.69 points, at 2,989.31, the highest close since May 4.
Telecoms stocks in the region were strong, with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd 1.8 per cent higher.
KUALA LUMPUR: SHARE prices on Bursa Malaysia closed on a firm note again yesterday, buoyed by persistent buying interest in select blue chips, dealers said.
The FBM KLCI gained 5.16 points to finish at 1,629.45, a new closing high. It had opened 3.23 points lower at 1,621.06. The index touched a high of 1,632.15 and a low of 1,621.06.
TA Securities’ senior technical chartist, Stephen Soo, said the index was helped by gains in select plantation counters like KL Kepong, BLD Plantation, TDM, Kulim Malaysia and Felda Global Ventures (FGV).
KL Kepong and BLD Plantation rose 18 sen each to RM24.30 and RM8.78 respectively, TDM surged 24 sen to RM4.75, Kulim Malaysia jumped 28 sen to RM5.31 and FGV rose eight sen to RM5.50.
Soo expected the index to continue to rally until it reached its resistance level at around 1,650.0 and then profit-taking would set in.
In other markets:
* Taipei rose 0.09 per cent, or 6.56 points, to 7,257.91.
* Manila closed 0.09 per cent, or 4.84 points, lower at 5,235.44.
* Bangkok rose 0.35 per cent, or 4.25 points, to 1,208.67.
* Jakarta closed 0.23 per cent, or 9.45 points, higher at 4,019.13.
* Mumbai’s Sensex index slid 0.73 per cent or 129.21 points to 17,489.14, as investors took profits.
VIETNAM: Vietnamese shares rose first time in 3 days as traders hunted bargain after recent sharp losses, trading volume fell to the lowest level since Jan 30 this year.
The benchmark VN Index added 1.89 points or 0.46% to 407.28. Volume fell by 20.8% to 22.8 million shares worth of VND407.15 billion. Put through trading contributed 3.1 million shares worth of VND71.37 billion.
The VN30 added 1.99 points or 0.41%, to 481.57. Amongst its 30 members, 24 gained, 2 lost and 4 unchanged.
On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX gained 0.7 point or 1.03% to 68.59. Trading volume fell 10.6% to 20.7 million shares worth VND196.43 billion.
HNX30 gained 1.81 point or 1.43% to 128.27.
EUROPE: European stocks struggled yesterday, as investors fretted over global gloom linked to the eurozone crisis and poor US earnings, but sentiment was partly boosted by a vast Spanish austerity package.
The FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.1 per cent to 1,039.74 points, having at one point fallen as much as 0.6 per cent. The Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.4 per cent.
London’s FTSE 100 index slid 0.44 per cent to 5,638.97 points and in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.61 per cent to 3,155.91, but Frankfurt’s DAX 30 eked out a 0.03 per cent gain to stand at 6,440.18.
Madrid’s IBEX 35 index rose 0.31 per cent to 6,748.1 points. However, Italy’s FTSE Mib index was down 0.51 per cent at 13,797.24 points.
“Global growth storm clouds continue to gather,” said dealer Jonathan Sudaria at trading group Capital Spreads.
AMERICA: The stock market mostly recovered from an afternoon slump to end with slight losses.
In minutes from their latest meeting released Wednesday afternoon, Federal Reserve officials said they saw a variety of threats to the U.S. economy, including a slowdown in China and a looming budget crunch in Washington. The Fed also didn’t signal that new steps to stimulate the economy were on the way.
Stock investors took the news badly at first, but by the end of the day were taking it in stride. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as many as 118 points shortly after the 2 p.m. release of the Fed’s minutes. Thanks to a recovery in the last hour it was down just 48 points at the closing bell, not much different from where it was earlier.
The Dow closed at 12,604.53, down 48.59 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.02 of a point to 1,341.45. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 14.35 points to 2,887.98.
It was the fifth straight day of losses for both the Dow and S&P. That’s the worst stretch for both since a six-day losing streak that ran through May 18. With Europe still working out the details of a bailout for Spanish banks and the U.S. economy still sluggish, there’s little for investors to buy stocks.
The current batch of U.S. corporate earnings, which started to come in this week, isn’t expected to help the stock market. Financial analysts forecast that companies in the S&P 500 will report a 2 percent earnings drop in the April-through-June period compared with the year before, according to the research firm S&P Capital IQ. That would be the first fall in profits since the summer quarter of 2009.
Chevron and other energy stocks rose, following oil prices higher. The price of crude oil jumped $1.90, to $85.81 a barrel, after the government said U.S. crude supplies fell for a second week in a row, a sign that demand for energy may be increasing.
Energy stocks led the 10 industry groups within the S&P 500 index, rising 1.4 percent. Chevron gained 97 cents to $104.85 and Exxon Mobil gained $1.27 to $84.38.
Europe’s debt crisis has led banks and investment funds from around the world to shift their money into Treasurys. High demand for Treasurys has kept U.S. government borrowing rates low.
The Treasury auctioned 10-year notes at a record low interest rate Wednesday afternoon, 1.46 percent.
Among other stocks making bigger moves than the overall market:
— HHGregg plunged 36 percent. The appliance and electronics retailer said after the market closed Tuesday that weak sales will cause its quarterly loss to widen. The company also cut its full-year earnings outlook. Analysts at SunTrust and Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the company’s shares. The company’s stock lost $4.20 to $7.34.
— AMC Networks jumped 2 percent. A stock analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group said AMC, whose shows include “Mad Men,” and “The Walking Dead,” could reach a settlement with Dish Network in their dispute over fees by mid-October. Dish replaced AMC’s channels on July 1, arguing that they were too expensive. AMC’s stock gained 86 cents to $40.73. Dish fell 3 percent, or 95 cents, to $26.80.
— Mead Johnson Nutrition surged 4 percent after a Chinese agency apologized for what it said were false accusations that the company’s baby formula contained a possibly dangerous ingredient. The accusations helped knock the company’s stock down 3 percent on Tuesday. Mead Johnson jumped $2.99 to $78.28.
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