A bout of bargain-hunting and a stronger dollar boosted sentiment in Asia yesterday Friday March 19 with stock markets higher during a quiet trading day.
The greenback was given a lift against the euro in New York on Thursday as dealers ran for the safe haven unit after Athens warned it might go to the International Monetary Fund if European partners failed to help.
And concerns that China could raise interest rates were eased slightly after the country’s central bank drained billions of dollars out of the financial system.
TOKYO: Nikkei ended 0.75 percent, or 80.69 points, higher at 10,824.72.
“A slight appreciation in the yen during the morning session perhaps had a positive impact on exporters such as car makers and technology companies,” Mizuho Securities Senior Strategist Tomochika Kitaoka said.
SYDNEY closed 0.19 percent, or 9.1 points, higher at 4,872.2.
SHANGHAI closed 0.71 percent higher, adding 21.66 points to 3,067.75 after the Rio-Chinalco deal was announced.
Sentiment was also helped by easing concerns over an imminent rate hike faded after the central bank said on Thursday it took a massive 213 billion yuan from the financial system this week to tighten liquidity.
“Overall, market sentiment has improved somewhat in recent sessions,” Li Xianming, an analyst at Ping An Securities, said.
Regional dealers were making the most of broad losses on Thursday although they had been given a cue from Wall Street, where the Dow rose 0.42 percent, its eighth straight gain.
HONG KONG: Stocks rose 0.19 percent yesterday in line with regional markets after a rally in the afternoon.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index was 40.15 points higher at 21,370.82. For the week, the index edged up 0.8 percent, up for a fourth consecutive week.
SINGAPORE: Stocks still hovered around eight-week highs yesterday, with top telecom firm Singapore Telecom up 1.6 percent while top bank DBS dropped 3.2 percent due to profit-taking after its three-day run, a Singapore-based dealer said.
The benchmark Straits Times Index ended 1.76 points higher at 2,915.70.
Singapore Airlines fell 1.03 percent.
KUALA LAMPUR: The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Composite Index (FBM KLCI) paused to consolidate its recent gains over four of the last five trading days.
Once again, it stayed below its psychological support of 1,300 when it closed at 1,296.60 points yesterday.
In other markets:
SEOUL closed 0.65 percent, or 10.94 points, higher at 1,686.11.
TAIPEI rose 0.15 percent, or 11.57 points, to close at 7,897.91. “Many investors have turned reluctant to chase prices amid fears of strong resistance ahead of the key 8,000 points level,” President Securities analyst Vickie Hsieh said.
JAKARTA gained 0.21 percent, or 5.73 points, to 2,742.97.
MANILA fell 0.12 percent, or 3.72 points, to 3,097.23.
BANGKOK rose 2.05 percent, or 15.57 points, to close at 774.59.
MUMBAI rose 0.34 percent, or 58.97 points, to end at 17,578.23.
VIETNAM: The VN Index slipped 3.74 points or 0.72 percent to end at 515.99 pts with the total matching order trade of 53.46 million shares worth 2.351 trillion dong.
The northern bourse today also plunged as the HNX Index dropped 0.74 points or 0.43 percent to end at 169.85 pts with the total market trade of 26.51 million shares valued at 881.27 billion dong
EUROPE: European stocks fell yesterday following a late-session sell-off in resource-related sectors, hit by falling commodities as the dollar gained ground while the euro sagged on nagging concerns over Greece’s debt problems.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares unofficially closed 0.4 percent lower at 1,065.37 points.
The index, which spent most of the session in positive territory, hit a 17-month high in morning trade, boosted by rallying banking stocks such as UBS, Barclays and Credit Agricole, which ended the session up 1.5-1.7 percent.
Across Europe, London FTSE 100 managed a gain of 0.13 percent to end the week at 5,650.13. In Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.32 percent to 3,925.44 while in Frankfurt the Dax lost 0.50 percent to finish at 5,982.43.
AMERICA: Stocks halted their steady climb Friday after renewed concerns about Greece’s ability to pay its debts left investors questioning a global economic recovery.
The Dow fell 37.19, or 0.3 percent, to 10,741.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.93, or 0.5 percent, to 1,159.90. The Nasdaq composite index fell 16.87, or 0.7 percent, to 2,374.41.
The Dow on Thursday closed at its highest level since Oct. 1, 2008. Broader indexes are in a similar range so the retreat Friday wasn’t surprising. Many traders like to sell some of their stronger holdings when the market pushes to new highs.
Three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 5.67 billion shares, compared with 4.26 billion Thursday. Volume was heavy Friday in part because of the quarterly expiration of four kinds options and futures contracts.
For the week, the Dow rose 1.1 percent, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent.
Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.70 percent from 3.68 percent late Thursday.
The dollar rose against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.
Crude oil fell $1.52 to settle at $80.68 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as the dollar rose. The stronger dollar made commodities more expensive to foreign buyers. That hurt demand.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 7.72, or 1.1 percent, to 673.89.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD HKD 7.7593 10.4986 0.0857 11.649 7.311 7.6272 7.1031 AUD 1.0924 1.478 0.0121 1.64 1.0293 1.0738 0.1408 CAD 1.0173 1.3765 0.0112 1.5273 0.9585 0.9313 0.1311 CHF 1.0613 1.436 0.0117 1.5934 1.0433 0.9716 0.1368 GBP 0.6661 0.9012 0.0074 0.6276 0.6547 0.6098 0.0858 JPY 90.545 122.510 135.935 85.3136 89.0035 82.8876 11.6692 EUR 0.7391 0.0082 1.1096 0.6964 0.7265 0.6766 0.0953 USD 1.353 0.011 1.5013 0.9422 0.983 0.9154 0.1289 Bloomberg