Asia: Mostly lower, eyes on Ukraine crisis

26-Apr-2014 Intellasia | Business Times | Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | AP | 8:39 AM Print This Post

Asian markets were mostly lower yesterday Friday April 25, with another upbeat lead from Wall Street overshadowed by concerns about the Ukraine crisis.
Tokyo rose 0.17 per cent, or 24.27 points, to 14,429.26 while Seoul tumbled 1.34 per cent, or 26.68 points, to 1,971.66. Shanghai fell one per cent, or 20.51 points, to 2,036.52. Sydney and Wellington were closed for public holidays.
However, traders remain on edge over the situation in Eastern Europe.
Russia on Thursday ordered new military exercises on the border of Ukraine and warned of “consequences” after Kiev launched a deadly assault against pro-Kremlin rebels occupying a flashpoint town.
Later United States Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of a “full-throated effort to actively sabotage the democratic process through gross external intimidation” and described the military exercises as “threatening”.
He also said Moscow had broken an agreement signed last week in Geneva aimed at easing tensions, adding that refusal to take any steps to end the crisis would “not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake”. The veteran diplomat added “we are ready to act” as Washington tees up new economic sanctions against Moscow.

HONGKONG: SHARES dropped 1.50 per cent yesterday due to concerns about China’s economy as well as tensions over the Ukraine crisis.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 339.27 points to 22,223.53.
HSBC fell 1.44 per cent to HK$78.75, Cathay Pacific Airways was 1.98 per cent off at HK$14.84 and China Mobile eased one per cent to HK$69.05.
Sands China tumbled 3.15 per cent to HK$61.45 while Galaxy Entertainment slipped 2.81 per cent to HK$67.50 and Tencent gave up 1.69 per cent to HK$523.50.

SINGAPORE: THE Straits Times Index fell 16.36 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 3267.57.
The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index sank 0.83 per cent while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.19 per cent.
Among the top actives, CapitaMalls Asia added 0.45 per cent, POSH jumped 0.43 per cent, SingTel dropped 0.27 per cent, Keppel Corp was down 0.76 per cent and DBS decreased 0.59 per cent.
Of the outperforming sectors, the FTSE ST Health Care Index declined 0.23 per cent. Of its two biggest stocks, Raffles Medical added 1.18 per cent and Biosensors International dropped 1.54 per cent.

KUALA LUMPUR: FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) continued its downtrend to end 4.3 points lower at 1,860.98 points yesterday, dragged by losses in selected heavyweights.
The benchmark index hovered between 1,859.95 and 1,868.29 points throughout the trading day.
Of the heavyweights, Maybank and CIMB lost one sen each to RM9.95 and RM7.51, respectively, while Public Bank, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Axiata remained unchanged at RM20.26, RM11.94 and RM6.65, respectively.
Among actives, 1 Utopia and Tiger Synergy were flat at 7.5 sen and 16.5 sen, respectively, and PDZ Holdings eased to 15.5 sen.
A dealer said the ongoing tension in Ukraine might disrupt the positive momentum should it develop into a full-blown military confrontation.
On the scoreboard, the Industrial Index lost 23.87 points to 3,146.98 points, the Finance Index slipped 21.27 points to 17,073.58 points and the Plantation Index fell 7.13 points to 8,995.73 points.
The FBM Emas Index shed 34.74 points to 12,918.35 points, the FBMT100 Index was 34.61 points lower at 12,549.98 points, the FBM 70 Index depreciated 61.06 points to 14,143.71 points but the ACE Index rose 10.39 points to 6,910.16 points.
Meanwhile, FBM KLCI futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives closed lower, tracking the performance of the underlying cash market.
April 2014 fell eight points to 1,853.5, May 2014 trimmed nine points to 1,851, June 2014 depreciated 9.5 points to 1,849 and September 2014 lost 7.5 points to 1,843.5.
Turnover rose to 24,001 lots from 4,314 lots recorded on Thursday while open interest widened to 60,030 contracts from 38,929 contracts previously.

In other markets:
* Bangkok fell 1.02 per cent, or 14.51 points, to 1,408.16. Telecoms company True Corp dropped 5.71 per cent to 6.60 baht, while Siam Cement lost 3.14 per cent to 432 baht.
* Jakarta rose 0.13 per cent, or 6.56 points, to 4,897.64. Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia gained 2.24 per cent to 1,600 rupiah, while palm oil firm Astra Agro Lestari fell 2.41 per cent to 28,300 rupiah.
* Mumbai fell 0.82 per cent to end at 22,688.07 points. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals fell 7.04 per cent to 59.45 rupees while tyre maker MRF slid 5.87 per cent to 20,421.80 rupees.
* Taipei fell 1.92 per cent, or 171.33 points, to 8,774.12. Smartphone maker HTC shed 3.45 per cent to T$154 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 2.07 per cent lower at T$118.50.
* Manila slipped 0.69 per cent, or 46.23 points, to 6,685.10. Metropolitan Bank fell 1.60 per cent to 83 pesos, SM Investments eased 0.41 per cent to 734.50 pesos and Manila Electric sank 1.67 per cent to 270.40 pesos.

VIETNAM: Vietnamese stocks closed higher today with more calm sentiment, liquidity rose.
The benchmark VN Index gained 8.46 points or 1.48% to 578.92. Volume rose 13% to 56.7 million shares worth of VND1.284 trillion.
Put-through trading contributed 6 million shares worth of VND168.46 billion. We saw 2.3 million VNG shares and 0.6 million MSN shares changed hands. In the past 4 straight sessions, VNG were traded heavily on put-through and at the ceiling prices.
The market breadth was positive with 136 gainers, 78 losers and 69 unchanged.
The VN30 gained 7.19 points or 0.58% to 636.35. Among 30 constituents 21 gained, 4 fell and 5 stood still.
On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX added 0.58 point or 0.73% to 80.58 Trading volume rose to 39.9 million shares worth VND406.9 billion.
The breadth was positive with 130 gainers, 71 losers, 63 unchanged and the rest untraded.
The HNX30 rose 1.07 points or 0.67% to 162.05.

EUROPE: European stock markets fell yesterday after rising most of the week in reaction to upbeat earnings and data, with traders taking profits amid lingering unease over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
London’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.22 per cent to 6,688.28 points in late morning trade. Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 0.82 per cent to 9,470.31 points and Paris’ CAC 40 shed 0.26 per cent to 4,467.72.
“While there may be an element of profit-taking driving markets lower, I think a bigger contributing factor is the recent flare up in eastern Ukraine and the war of words now taking place between the United States and Russia,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari traders.
French engineering group Alstom was suspended yesterday, a day after the stock had surged on rumours of a bid by General Electric.

AMERICA: The stock market fell sharply Friday, dragged down by disappointing quarterly results from Amazon and Ford. Escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine also weighed on the market.

Worried investors sold their risky assets and moved into the traditional havens: bonds, gold and stocks that pay high dividends like utilities.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,863.40. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 140.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,361.46 and the Nasdaq composite lost 72.78 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,075.56.

Friday’s sell-off was enough to push the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq into the red for the week.

Technology stocks, which have been volatile for the last two months, were once again a hotbed of selling.

Amazon, the world’s largest online store, sank $33.32, or 10 percent, to $303.83. Amazon reported late Thursday an increase in first-quarter profit, but the company also said that spending on investments will likely lead to an operating loss in the second quarter.

The retail giant dragged the rest of the technology sector lower, making it one of the worst performing sectors in the S&P 500. Netflix fell more than 6 percent, Priceline lost 5 percent, Facebook fell 5 percent and Twitter lost more than 7 percent.

Investors have had little patience for companies missing their forecasts this quarter, said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

“The market is in a precarious position at the moment, and overreacts to bad news far more than it did last year,” he said, noting as an example the 10 percent drop in Amazon’s stock price, even though the company meet analysts’ forecasts for the most recent quarter.

For a second day, the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine weighed on U.S. investor sentiment.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday accused Russia of failing to live up to its commitments to ease the crisis in Ukraine. Kerry said bluntly that unless Moscow takes immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, Washington will have no choice but to impose additional sanctions. In a separate event, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said he feared a Russian invasion was imminent.

Investments thought to be less risky were among the few assets to rise Friday. Bond prices rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.66 percent from 2.68 percent Thursday. Gold rose $10.20, or 0.8 percent, to $1,300.80 an ounce.

“Cash on the sidelines is looking for safety over anything else right now,” said Mike Serio, a regional chief investment officer with Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Dividend-rich utility stocks also rose. The Dow Jones utility index, a basket of 15 utility stocks, rose 1 percent to 551.66, its highest level since December 2007.

The U.S. might have put in place the sanctions against Russia and its officials to punish that country, but the measures are starting to have an impact the profits of some U.S. companies as well.

Visa fell $10.47, or 5 percent, to $198.93 after it warned that the U.S. sanctions were causing Russian banks to use other companies to process payments. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country will create its own payment processing system. MasterCard was also hurt by the news. Its stock fell $3.69, or 5 percent, to $70.66.

Visa’s decline accounted for roughly half the fall in the Dow on Friday.

In other company news:

- Ford fell 54 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $15.78 after the company reported earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Worldwide sales rose 6 percent in the first quarter, but the company reported a sales drop in North America that cut into the company’s profit. General Motors fell 45 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $33.72.

Benchmark Currency Rates


1.3834 0.0098 1.6803 1.1344 0.9062 0.9281 0.1290


0.7228 0.0071 1.2146 0.8201 0.6548 0.6706 0.0932


102.1600 141.3000 171.6850 115.8640 92.5490 94.8070 13.1773


0.5951 0.8233 0.0058 0.6749 0.5391 0.5521 0.0768


0.8818 1.2196 0.0086 1.4814 0.7988 0.8182 0.1137


1.1039 1.5271 0.0108 1.8548 1.2519 1.0244 0.1424


1.0784 1.4907 0.0105 1.8107 1.2229 0.9767 0.1390


7.7534 10.7254 0.0759 13.0281 8.7911 7.0232 7.1948 – 


Source: Bloomberg


Category: FinanceAsia

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