Asian markets were mixed yesterday as investors made the most of massive gains earlier in the week to take profits as confidence slowly edges back onto trading floors.
In the US, investors shook off an attack of nerves that wiped out a big early advance Wednesday and then barreled back into the market right before the close.
Trading was extremely erratic. The Dow Jones industrials rose as much as 203 points in response to upbeat economic data, then fell nearly 110 during the afternoon before closing up 90.
TOKYO: Down 0.10%. The Nikkei-225 index fell 8.31 points to 8,479.99.
Investors took profits following the recent rally to a 10-week high, dealers said.
SYDNEY: Up 0.82%. The S&P/ASX 200 index added 29.3 points to 3,609.3.
“We saw strong buying among financials stocks, with the four major banks well supported by end-of-month and quarter window dressing,” said IG Markets analyst Ben Potter.
SHANGHAI: Down 2.00%. The Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed down 46.87 points to 2,291.56.
The market reversed seven consecutive days of gains, dealers said. The key index climbed 9.8% in the seven sessions starting March 16.
HONG KONG: Share prices closed down 2.07% yesterday on profit-taking in heavyweight HSBC after two days of strong gains, dealers said.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 288.23 points to 13,622.11.
Traders said profit-taking was expected after a two-day 8.4% rally. But many said they see an uncertain outlook for the market, which is still digesting the details of the US toxic asset plan.
SINGAPORE: Shares closed 0.86% lower yesterday following Wall Street’s hefty losses overnight, dealers said.
The Straits Times Index fell 14.66 points to 1,691. 68. “I think the pullback will be a slight one with 1,680 (point-level) likely to hold, then I see the STI heading up to 1,780 or higher,” said Gabriel Gan, senior vice-president for equity sales at AmFraser Securities.
TAIPEI: Up 1.99%. The weighted index rose 104.2 points to 5,346.38.
Analysts expect the market to maintain gains after the government announced that the February export orders recovered from last month’s record fall due to demand in the key electronic sector.
SEOUL: Up 0.6%. The KOSPI ended up 7.32 points at 1,229.02.
The market is now at its highest level in more than five months amid hopes the global financial system will stabilise further.
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended mixed yesterday, with the key index in positive territory supported by last-minute buying of selected blue chips, dealers said.
At 5pm, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) edged up 0.89 point to 878.81 after opening 2.93 points lower at 874.99.
Window-dressing by local funds in the last hour of trade helped to reverse earlier losses, one dealer at a bank-backed brokerage said.
BANGKOK: Down 0.28%. The SET lost 1.24 points to close at 436.92.
“The index ended in the negative zone today as investors selected some shares to sell for short-term profits,” said Chai Chirasevenupraphand, a market strategist at Capital Nomura Securities.
JAKARTA: Down 1.10%. The Jakarta Composite Index lost 16.14 points to 1,419.97.
“It’s a healthy correction as many investors preferred to cash in gains ahead of one-day holiday tomorrow,” a trader said.
MANILA: Up 1.14%. The composite index added 21.85 points to close at 1,939.54.
Jomar Lacson of Campos, Lanuza and Co Inc said investors were encouraged by signs that the decline in imports was decelerating.
MUMBAI: Up 2.08%. The 30-share Sensex index rose 196.86 points to 9,667.9, its third straight day of gains.
EUROPE: European stocks ended mixed on yesterday with London falling 0.29% to 3,900.25 points amid some signs of optimism on the US economy but continuing investor concerns about the crisis.
The Dax index in Frankfurt rose by 0.86% to 4,223.29 and the CAC 40 in Paris also inched up 0.66% to 2,893.45, as shares on Wall Street also rose after an unexpected jump in durable goods orders in the United States.
Meanwhile, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4% to a provisional close of 743.57 points.
USA: The Dow closed up 89.94, or 1.17%, at 7,749.81, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 7.63, or 0.95%, to 813.88. The Dow is up 18.4% since March 9, right before the start of the market’s rally, while the S&P 500 is up 20.3%.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 12.43, or 0.82%, to 1,528.95, and the Russell 2000 index, which tracks small company stocks, rose 9.74, or 2.34, to 426.52.
Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 7.53 billion shares, up from Tuesday’s 6.65 billion.