Asia: Mixed as eyes on US job data

11-Jan-2014 Intellasia | Business Times | Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | AP | 8:42 AM Print This Post

Asian markets were mixed yesterday Friday January 10, 2014 following another weak lead from Wall Street as investors await the release of key United States jobs data, while Shanghai eased after China said its trade surplus shrank in December.

The euro edged back up against the dollar and yen after a brief fall on Thursday, fuelled by a warning from the head of the European Central Bank that the eurozone economy remained fragile.

Tokyo rebounded from earlier losses, thanks to a pick-up in the dollar against the yen. The Nikkei ended 0.20 per cent, or 31.73 points, higher at 15,912.06.

However, Seoul finished down 0.39 per cent, shedding 7.57 points to 1,938.54 and Sydney eased 0.23 per cent, or 12.0 points, to 5,312.4.

Shanghai fell 0.71 per cent, or 14.32 points, to 2,013.30.

With the US Federal Reserve holding its next policy meeting at the end of the month, investors are closely monitoring yesterday’s jobs data to see if it will give the central bank more ammunition to further cut its stimulus.

HONG KONG: STOCKS rose 0.26 per cent yesterday as investors awaited the release of US jobs data later in the day.
The Hang Seng Index added 58.92 points to end at 22,846.25 on turnover of HK$68.53 billion.
On the index, Henderson Land Development climbed 2.06 per cent to HK$44.65, HSBC added 0.18 per cent to HK$85.40.
In the meantime, oil giant CNOOC fell 0.86 per cent to HK$13.76, China Mobile was up 0.58 per cent at HK$77.80 and Cathay Pacific rallied 3.28 per cent to HK$17.02.

SINGAPORE: THE Straits Times Index (STI) ended 1.54 points, or 0.05 per cent lower at 3143.87, taking the year-to-date performance down by 0.66 per cent.
The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.07 per cent, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index tumbled at close by 0.09 per cent.
Of the actives, OCBC Bank appreciated by 0.10 per cent, Albedo went up by 23.08 per cent, DBS advanced 0.17 per cent while, GoldenAgri stood unchanged.
The outperforming sector, FTSE ST Utilities, gained 2.30 per cent. Of its biggest stocks, Hyflux was unchanged and HanKore gained 1.70 per cent.

KUALA LUMPUR: SHARE prices on Bursa Malaysia closed mixed, as support from selective buying on the overall market were negated by sustained selling pressures in blue chips, dealers said.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) finished 1.6 points easier at 1,826.61, with 14 out of the 30 large stocks in the red, led by BAT and Petronas Gas.
BAT, the biggest loser, fell 40 sen to RM62.80, followed by Allianz, which shed 32 sen to RM12.62, and Petronas Gas, which lost 28 sen to RM23.
Among heavyweights, Maybank fell four sen to RM9.81, Tenaga lost 14 sen to RM11.58 and Axiata was flat at RM6.75.
Gainers outnumbered losers 406 to 378 while 324 were unchanged, 439 untraded and 25 others suspended.
Volume rose to 1.91 billion shares valued at RM2.07 billion from Thursday’s 1.85 billion shares worth RM1.95 billion.
The Finance Index fell 25.951 points to 16,731.02, the Plantation Index rose 10.59 points to 8,624.35 and the Industrial Index eased 12.1 points lower at 3,087.41.
The FBM Emas Index slipped 0.64 point to 12,659.44, the FBMT100 Index shed 6.17 points to 12,359.95, the FBM ACE Index rose 18.95 points to 5,961.18 and the FBM 70 Index added 11.32 points to 14,093.53.
Meanwhile, FBM KLCI futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended lower, tracking the cash market.
Spot month January 2014 and June 2014 slipped 2.5 points each to 1,826 and 1,821.5, respectively.
February 2014 fell one point to 1,826.5 and March 2014 declined 1.5 points to 1,826.5.
Turnover amounted to 3,082 while open interest dipped to 41,049 contracts from 43,774 contracts previously.

In other markets:

* Taipei rose 0.17 per cent, or 14.67 points, to 8,529.35. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co rose 0.99 per cent to T$102.0, while smartphone maker HTC fell 1.39 per cent to T$128.0.

* Wellington added 1.03 per cent, or 49.52 points, to 4,864.39. Fletcher Building was up 2.79 per cent at NZ$8.85 and Air New Zealand was flat at NZ$1.64.

* Manila lost 1.59 per cent, or 94.63 points, to 5,842.88. Philippine Long Distance Telephone dipped 0.15 per cent to 2,690.00 pesos and Metropolitan Bank shed 4.80 per cent to 70.35 pesos.

* Bangkok lost 0.22 per cent, or 2.81 points, to 1,255.45. Siam Cement dropped 0.26 per cent to 391.00 baht, while oil company PTT gained 1.06 per cent to 287.00 baht.

* Jakarta climbed 1.28 per cent, or 53.75 points, to 4,254.97. Bank Negara Indonesia gained 2.88 per cent at 3,930 rupiah, while Hero Supermarket fell 1.01 per cent to 2,450 rupiah.

* Mumbai rose 0.22 per cent, or 45.12 points, to 20,758.49. Infosys gained 2.84 per cent to 3,548.90 rupees while Wipro rose 2.55 per cent to 554.55 rupees.

VIETNAM: Vietnamese stocks extended gain for the third straight day as large caps rose, liquidity was at high level.
The benchmark VN Index added 1.96 points or 0.38% to 518.94. Volume rose 17% to 104.8 million worth of VND1.606 trillion. Put-through trading contributed 14.47 million shares worth of VND367 billion.
We saw 10.9 million MBB shares changed hands at VND13,000 each, and 2.25 million MSN shares changed hands at VND85,000 each.
The market breadth was negative with 101 gainers, 114 losers and 67 unchanged.
The VN30 lost 1.03 points or 0.18% to 576.16. Among 30 constituents, 9 gained, 17 fell, 4 stood still.
On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX lost 0.4 point or 0.56% to 70.76. Trading volume fell 32% to 54 million shares worth VND515 billion.
The breadth was still positive with 104 gainers, 97 losers, 72 unchanged and the rest untraded.
The HNX30 lost 0.96 point or 0.7% to 134.92.

EUROPE: European stock markets rebounded yesterday as traders awaited key US jobs data.
London’s FTSE 100 index climbed 0.87 per cent to 6,749.55 points nearing the half-way stage yesterday. Frankfurt’s DAX 30 grew 0.81 per cent to 9,498.06 points and Paris’ CAC 40 gained 0.65 per cent to 4,252.42 points in midday deals.
European indices had closed down on Thursday, with investors unimpressed by the ECB’s pledge to act if necessary to ward off deflation or a credit crunch, analysts said.
“Looking ahead to the US session … it is all about this year’s first non-farm payrolls figures and the US unemployment levels,” said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG traders.
Meanwhile, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 per cent at 1,322.05 points, with Spain’s IBEX rising 0.8 per cent, and Italy’s FTSE MIB gaining 0.5 per cent.

AMERICA:  It was a fluke.

That was the conclusion investors reached about the U.S. government’s latest jobs report, which showed a sharp decline in hiring last month. Stock indexes ended mostly higher after wavering for much of the day.

The gains were minuscule, however, and there were a number of signs that investors were being cautious. Prices rose for bonds and gold, traditional “go-to” assets for nervous investors. Utilities and other kinds of low-risk, high-dividend stocks also rose as investors sought safe places to park money.

“We need to see more evidence before concluding that all the other (economic) indicators are wrong and the jobs data is correct,” said Kate Warne, a market strategist with Edward Jones.

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 7.71 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,437.05. If not for a slump in Chevron, which reported a decline in oil and gas production late Thursday, the index would have risen slightly.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,842.37 and the Nasdaq composite rose 18.47 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,174.66.

The Labor Department said that only 74,000 jobs were added to payrolls in December, the least in three years and far fewer than economists expected. The unemployment rate fell, but mostly because many people stopped looking for work, the government said.

The December jobs survey stands in contrast to weeks of reports consistent with a steadily strengthening economy. U.S. companies are selling record levels of goods overseas; Americans are buying more big items like cars and appliances and layoffs have dwindled. As recently as Wednesday, the payroll processor ADP said private businesses created 238,000 jobs in December.

If the recent U.S. economic picture were a jigsaw puzzle, the jobs report is the piece that didn’t fit.

“The investor base was completely shocked with how especially weak the numbers were,” said Tom di Galoma, who heads up bond trading at ED&F Man Capital.

Market strategists blamed the bad jobs data on everything from the unseasonably cold weather in December to the fact that Thanksgiving came later than usual. Few believed the economic recovery is slowing down.

Cautious investors took the data as a reason to retreat into safer investments.

Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.87 percent from 2.97 percent the day before.

Utility stocks were among the biggest gainers as investors looked to pull back on risk. The Dow Jones utility average, a basket of 15 utility companies, rose 1.3 percent. Consolidated Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Edison International were all up roughly 1 percent or more.

Even gold prices went up, after having a difficult 2013. Gold rose $17.50, or 1.4 percent, to $1,246.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

With Wall Street treating the December jobs data as an aberration, the place investors will look next for guidance will be corporate earnings. Investors spent the second half of 2013 bidding up stock price to historic highs in hopes that the U.S. economic recovery would translate into higher profits.

“What really needs to come through this year is earnings growth,” said Steve Rees, head U.S. equity strategy for JPMorgan Private Bank.

On average, Wall Street is looking for corporate earnings to be around 6 percent higher than they were last year.

Very few companies have reported their latest quarterly earnings, but so far the results have not been promising.

Alcoa, the giant aluminum company, said Thursday it had a $2.34 billion fourth-quarter loss due to low aluminum prices. The stock slumped the most in the S&P 500 index, losing 58 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $10.11.

Target dropped after cutting its fourth-quarter earnings forecast, saying a recent data security breach caused customers to shop elsewhere during the holidays. Target fell 72 cents, or 1 percent, to $62.62.

The pace of earnings releases will pick up next week. JPMorgan Chase, American Express, General Electric and Goldman Sachs are among the companies that will report results. That will give the market broader array of data to look at before concluding that the U.S. economic recovery may be slowing.

“That’s going to give more insight than that one odd jobs number,” said Dean Junkans, chief investment officer with Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Benchmark Currency Rates

USD EUR JPY GBP CHF CAD AUD HKD

USD

1.3670 0.0096 1.6483 1.1080 0.9180 0.8995 0.1290

EUR

0.7315 0.0070 1.2058 0.8107 0.6717 0.6581 0.0943

JPY

104.1800 142.3900 171.7020 115.4160 95.6250 93.7030 13.4336

GBP

0.6067 0.8294 0.0058 0.6723 0.5571 0.5458 0.0782

CHF

0.9024 1.2336 0.0087 1.4872 0.8285 0.8119 0.1164

CAD

1.0892 1.4891 0.0105 1.7957 1.2067 0.9800 0.1404

AUD

1.1118 1.5196 0.0107 1.8323 1.2319 1.0209 0.1434

HKD

7.7543 10.5996 0.0744 12.7814 8.5919 7.1200 6.9757

Source: Bloomberg

 


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