Asian markets were mixed in limited holiday trade yesterday amid renewed eurozone debt fears as attention turned to Spain’s finances after a weak bond auction earlier in the week.
With most of the region’s bourses closed for the Easter break investors had an eye on the United States where key jobs data will give an indication to the state of the world’s number one economy.
Shares in Tokyo fell after a sluggish session on Wall Street overnight and continuing fears over Europe’s fiscal woes, with investors eyeing US jobs data later in the day. The Nikkei 225 Index lost 0.81 per cent, or 79.16 points, to 9,688.45.
Investors were “pouring money into defensive stocks such as retailers and utilities” ahead of US non-farm payrolls data later in the day, said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, general manager of investment and research at SMBC Friend Securities.
But a high yen continued to weigh on Japanese shares, brokers said.
“With the euro/yen around the 107 level, the (Nikkei) index will continue to tick lower,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Meanwhile, speculation that Japan would usher in further monetary easing measures rose after a morning meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa, analysts said.
The speculation could drive up the Nikkei in the coming week, said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager of investment strategy and information at Cosmo Securities.
Chinese shares, meanwhile, closed up with gains limited by investor caution ahead of the release of key economic figures next week. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.19 per cent, or 4.31 points, to 2,306.55.
“In the short term, there are still some negative factors for the market,” Shen Jun, an analyst at BOC International, said.
Eyes will first be on inflation figures on Monday. The consumer price index was 3.2 per cent in February, the lowest since June 2010.
Analysts said a strong rebound in March would be negative for stocks, but most are expecting 3.3 per cent, according to a median forecast of 15 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Seoul was flat, edging up 0.26 points to 2,029.03 while Taipei added 0.87 per cent, or 66.44 points, to end at 7,706.26.
Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Wellington, Mumbai, Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok were all closed. European markets were also shut for Good Friday.
KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia closed marginally higher yesterday, despite mixed trading in the regional markets due to renewed concerns over the European financial crisis, dealers said.
The advance was supported by banking stocks with the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI finishing 5.43 points higher at 1,598.87 after fluctuating between 1,594.07 and 1,600.6 throughout the day.
Benchmark Currency Rates USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD USD – 1.3098 0.0123 1.5877 1.0907 1.0029 1.0307 0.1288 EUR 0.7637 – 0.0094 1.2122 0.8327 0.7659 0.7869 0.0983 JPY 81.640 106.830 – 129.578 89.0250 81.8660 84.1200 10.5150 GBP 0.6298 0.8251 0.0077 – 0.6867 0.6320 0.6493 0.0811 CHF 0.9168 1.2010 0.0112 1.4562 – 0.9193 0.9452 0.1181 CAD 0.9972 1.3058 0.0122 1.5830 1.0880 – 1.0279 0.1284 AUD 0.9702 1.2706 0.0119 1.5398 1.0573 0.9729 – 0.1249 HKD 7.7648 10.1696 0.0951 12.326 8.4672 7.7866 8.0031 – Bloomberg