Most Asia markets rose in a choppy session on Monday, amid some encouraging signs on Greece’s future within the euro zone, though investor caution capped broader gains.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO +0.68 percent put on 0.7 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI +0.34 percent added 0.2 percent and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:100000018 -0.02 percent edged up 0.1 percent.
China’s Shanghai Composite CN:000001 +0.05 percent lost 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was closed for a holiday.
Asia’s start to the week followed a soft lead from Wall Street on Friday, as concern for Spain’s financial health helped push US stocks modestly lower. Read more on Friday’s US session.
Standard & Poors cut the ratings on five Spanish banks on Friday, and said it believes the country is entering a double-dip recession.
Still, weekend reports indicating Greece’s conservative parties hold the lead in next month’s national elections offered some signs of progress toward stabilisation in the debt-fractured region.
Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney said the upcoming Greek poll is likely to drive investor behavior in the near-term.
“If a realistic possibility of an effective pro-bailout government emerges, we are likely to see risk being re-priced and a rally in equity markets,” Spooner said in emailed comments.
He added investors will remain “relatively cautious until there is clear evidence that Greece will comply with conditions enabling it to receive ongoing funding.”
Against this backdrop, Europe-tied firms gained some ground in Hong Kong. Fashion retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd HK:330 +1.96 percent ESPGY 0.00 percent climbed 1.5 percent while logistics operator Li & Fung Ltd HK:494 +1.20 percent added 1.5 percent.
Property firms also found favour, with China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd HK:688 +2.66 percent CAOVY +36.48 percent up 1.9 percent and China Resources Land Ltd HK:1109 +2.34 percent CRBJY 0.00 percent adding 1.3 percent, though Gemdale Corp. CN:600383 +0.89 percent sank 1.5 percent in Shanghai.
Air China Ltd CN:601111 -2.32 percent AIRYY +2.95 percent HK:753 -1.87 percent shares fell 2.5 percent in Shanghai while China Eastern Airlines Corp. CEA -0.69 percent CN:600115 -1.21 percent HK:670 +0.44 percent fell 3.2 percent as crude-oil futures ticked up in electronic trading, potentially raising fuel costs for the airline sector..
Gains for index heavyweights lent support in Tokyo, but losses for some exporters limited broader gains.
Shares on Fanuc Corp. JP:6954 +0.97 percent FANUY -1.07 percent put on 1 percent while Fast Retailing Co. JP:9983 +2.61 percent FRCOY +1.51 percent jumped 2.7 percent.
On the downside, shares of chip maker Renesas Electronics Corp. JP:6723 -10.26 percent RNECY -15.14 percent plunged 9.9 percent after weekend reports that the firm plans to cut up to 14,000 jobs and raise about $1.25 billion in capital. Read more on the planned job cuts, capital raising.
Major Renesas shareholder NEC Corp. JP:6701 -10.08 percent tumbled 8.4 percent, amid fears it may need to shoulder some of the embattled firm’s restructuring costs.
Other electronic exporters heading south included a 2.3 percent drop for Panasonic Corp. JP:6752 -3.04 percent PC -2.84 percent, while Sony Corp. JP:6758 -2.46 percent SNE -3.34 percent lost 1.3 percent.
Resource firms led gains in Sydney as commodity prices strengthened in electronic trading.
Diversified miners BHP Billiton Ltd AU:BHP +1.36 percent BHP -1.58 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd AU:RIO +1.36 percent RIO -1.74 percent put on 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, while iron-ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd AU:FMG +4.64 percent FSUGY -4.78 percent jumped 3.6 percent.
Shares of Woodside Petroleum Ltd AU:WPL +1.90 percent WOPEY -0.49 percent rose 1.9 percent after the energy firm said its $14.6 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas terminal is operating at significantly higher capacity levels than forecast for this month. -By Virginia Harrison