Asia: Mostly lower on Wall St, Ukraine woes

29-Apr-2014 Intellasia | Business Times | Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | AP | 7:44 AM Print This Post

Asian markets were mostly lower yesterday Monday April 28 following a negative lead from Wall Street, while tensions in Ukraine added to selling pressure.
Traders were awaiting the release later in the week of global manufacturing data as well as earnings reports from Japan, while the US Federal Reserve is also due to hold its latest policy meeting.
Tokyo slipped 0.98 per cent, or 141.03 points, to 14,288.23, Seoul lost 0.12 per cent, or 2.40 points, to close at 1,969.26 and Shanghai tumbled 1.62 per cent, or 33.03 points, to 2,003.49. But Sydney ended a touch higher, adding 5.1 points to 5,536.1.
United States shares sank last Friday, led by the tech-rich Nasdaq, after a disappointing earnings report from Amazon. The face-off in Ukraine also hurt buying sentiment.
The Dow fell 0.85 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.81 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.75 per cent.
Investors are watching this week’s release of April manufacturing activity data, hoping to see some signs of a pick-up in China after a preliminary report from HSBC pointed to a slight improvement.

HONGKONG: SHARES closed 0.41 per cent lower yesterday, in line with a broad regional sell-off following losses on Wall Street, while traders keep a wary eye on the Ukraine crisis.
The Hang Seng Index ended down 91 points at 22,132.53 on turnover of HK$52.83 billion.
Cathay Pacific eased 0.54 per cent to HK$14.76 and HSBC fell 0.06 per cent to HK$78.70, while Tencent fell 3.06 per cent to HK$507.5 and Sands China lost 3.34 per cent to HK$59.4.
But China Mobile rose 1.59 per cent to 70.15 and PetroChina was 1.48 per cent up at HK$8.93.

SINGAPORE: THE Straits Times Index (STI) ended 24.86 points, or 0.76 per cent, lower to 3242.71 points yesterday.
The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.31 per cent while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index shed 0.60 per cent.
Of the active stocks, CapitaMalls Asia was unchanged, UOB lost 1.43 per cent, DBS fell 0.48 per cent, SingTel added 0.53 per cent and OCBC Bank retreated 1.77 per cent.
The outperforming sector, FTSE ST Basic Materials, gained 0.64 per cent.
Of its two biggest stocks, Midas Holdings rose 2.17 per cent while SunVic Chemical was flat.

KUALA LUMPUR: SHARE prices on Bursa Malaysia ended the day lower on weaker buying support due to the ongoing geopolitical risk in Ukraine. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) closed 5.24 points easier at 1,855.74 points.
The benchmark index hovered between 1,855.74 points and 1,862.97 points throughout yesterday’s trading.
Of the heavyweights, Maybank was flat at RM9.95, Axiata added 2.0 sen to RM6.67, Public Bank and TNB shed 10 sen each to RM20.16 and RM11.84, respectively, and CIMB lost 2.0 sen to RM7.49.
Among actives, PDZ remained unchanged at 15.5 sen while 1 Utopia and Karambunai Corp eased half-a-sen each to 7.0 sen and 9.5 sen, respectively.
Market breadth was negative as losers led gainers 647 to 235 while 259 counters were unchanged, 488 untraded and 30 others suspended.
Turnover was higher at 2.16 billion shares worth RM1.74 billion from 1.93 billion shares worth RM1.89 billion on Friday.
On the scoreboard, the Industrial Index lost 5.27 points to 3,141.71, the Finance Index slipped 55.54 points to 17,018.04 and the Plantation Index fell 31.08 points to 8,964.65.
The FBM Emas Index shed 38.52 points to 12,879.82, the FBMT100 Index was 32.86 points lower at 12,517.12, the FBM 70 fell 27.3 points to 14,116.41 and the ACE Index lost 156.01 points at 6,754.15.
Meanwhile, the FBM KLCI futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives closed mostly higher. April 2014 rose 1.5 points to 1,885 points, May 2014 added 2.5 points to 1,853.5 points, June 2014 appreciated 2.0 points to 1,851 points, and September 2014 lost 2.0 points to 1,841.5 points.
Turnover rose to 24,982 lots from 24,001 lots last week, while open interest widened to 66,988 contracts from 60,030 contracts last Friday.

In other markets:
* Bangkok edged up 0.22 per cent to 1,411.23. Coal producer Banpu fell 0.88 per cent, or 0.25 baht, to close at 28.25, while Bangkok Bank added 0.80 per cent, or 1.50 baht, to close at 189.00 baht
* Jakarta ended down 1.61 per cent, or 78.89 points, at 4,818.76. Retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa fell 4.98 per cent to 1,240 rupiah, while Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper gained 4.14 per cent to 1,385 rupiah.
* Mumbai fell 0.25 per cent to end at 22,631.61 points. Shares of Shriram City Union Finance fell 5.24 per cent to 1,135.10 rupees, while Ambuja Cements fell 4.23 per cent to 200.15 rupees
* Taipei added 0.41 per cent, or 35.59 points, to 8,809.71. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was up 0.42 per cent at T$119.0 while leading cellphone camera lens maker Largan Precision gained 6.13 per cent to T$1,990.
* Wellington eased 0.74 per cent, or 38.16 points, to 5,115.80. Air New Zealand was off 0.48 per cent at NZ$2.085 and TradeMe was down 0.26 per cent at NZ$3.90.
* Manila closed 1.21 per cent lower, giving up 80.75 points to 6,604.35. Metropolitan Bank dropped 0.60 per cent to 82.50 pesos, BDO Unibank eased 0.17 per cent to 86.95 pesos and Megaworld Corp fell 3.49 per cent to 4.43 pesos.

VIETNAM: Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index eased 0.14 percent by midday on Monday, with many investors staying on the sidelines waiting for more supportive news, analysts said.
Bank shares led the fall with Vietcombank, Vietnam”s biggest listed lender, dropping 1.72 percent and Sacombank losing 2.49 percent.
“Many investors didn”t see investment opportunities in the stock market as the index moved slowly with volumes low in recent sessions,” said Nguyen Tuan, deputy manager of An Binh Securities.
The index is expected to fluctuate slightly over the next few weeks, Tuan added.
About 29 million shares exchanged hands by midday, far below the five-day average of 64 million, Reuters data showed.
Here is a snapshot of the VN Index at midday.

EUROPE: European stocks rose yesterday with the pharmaceuticals sector and sterling given a shot in the arm by news of US giant Pfizer’s US$100 billion (RM326 billion) merger offer for AstraZeneca.
Drugmakers were lifted also by impressive earnings from Germany’s Bayer and upbeat news from France’s Sanofi.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index appreciated by 0.25 per cent to stand at 6,702.37 points in midday trade.
Meanwhile, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 gained 0.69 per cent to 9,466.17 points and Paris’ CAC 40 added 0.44 per cent to 4,462.79 from Friday’s close.
“It was the pharmaceutical sector that was still the talk of the market with GlaxoSmithKline, Shire and AstraZeneca all leading the FTSE,” said Farhan Ahmad, trader at brokerage Tradenext.

AMERICA: It was a choppy ride for the stock market on Monday that ended with major U.S. indexes closing mostly higher.

Traders were pulled in multiple directions. Stocks opened higher, fell in the afternoon, and then rose again in the last hour of trading.

Bank stocks fell after Bank of America said a financial error would force it to cancel its stock buyback plan and dividend increase, while health-care stocks rose after U.S. drug giant Pfizer renewed its pursuit of a merger with British rival AstraZeneca. Formerly highflying technology stocks fell again, dragging the Nasdaq composite index into the red.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.03 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,869.43. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 87.28 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,448.74 and the Nasdaq edged down 1.16 points, or 0.03 percent, to 4,074.40. The Nasdaq erased most of a 61-point loss.

Bank of America sank $1.00, or 6.3 percent, to $14.95 after it unexpectedly announced it would suspend its stock buyback program and dividend increase. The bank discovered an error in how it calculates its capital ratio, a crucial measure of a bank’s financial strength. The Federal Reserve asked the bank to put its buyback and dividend increase on hold until the error was fixed.

Goldman Sachs and Citigroup each 1 percent following BofA’s announcement. JPMorgan Chase edged down 0.4 percent.

High-risk technology stocks were another area of weakness Monday as investors continue to cut their exposure to high-growth names and turn their focus to larger dividend-paying companies. Amazon fell $7.25, or 2.5 percent, to $296.58 after falling 10 percent on Friday. Netflix lost $7.87, or 2.4 percent, to $314.21 and Facebook fell $1.57, or 2.7 percent, to $56.14.

In contrast, “old” technology companies such as Microsoft, Apple and IBM, which have more mature businesses and pay quarterly dividends, rose 2 percent or more Monday.

High-growth technology and biotechnology stocks have been falling for several weeks now. The Nasdaq is down 3 percent in April, while the S&P 500 and Dow are roughly flat.

Traders say the selling has been coming from large investors, who have been moving out of high-growth stocks and into safer investments. The Russell 2000, an index made up mostly of smaller companies, is down nearly 5 percent this month.

“When you have so many investors doing the same thing at the same time, you get these exaggerated moves in some of these stocks,” said Ian Winer, director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Health-care stocks did well after drug giant Pfizer renewed its push to buy British drug company AstraZeneca for $100 billion. The deal would be the latest big merger in the drug industry in recent weeks, if it happens. AstraZeneca jumped $8.35, or 12 percent, to $77.01. Pfizer rose $1.29, or 4.2 percent, to $32.04.

The health-care industry has seen several big deals this year. Just in the last two weeks, Zimmer Holdings announced it would buy medical device maker Biomet for $13.4 billion, Valeant Pharmaceuticals said it would bid for Botox maker Allergan for $50 billion and Novartis agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer drug business for $16 billion.

“These deals have a halo effect on the rest of the market, particularly in the industry where it happens, because investors expect it means more deals are on their way,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist with Prudential Financial.

Investors now turn their focus to the Federal Reserve, which starts a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. The central bank is expected to further dial back its economic stimulus by reducing its monthly bond purchases to $45 billion. Those monthly purchases, which totaled $85 billion in December, have helped hold down long-term interest rates for consumers and businesses.

In other markets, bond prices fell, pushing the yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note up to 2.70 percent from 2.66 percent Friday. Gold was little changed at $1,299 an ounce.

Benchmark Currency Rates


1.3856 0.0098 1.6815 1.1362 0.9071 0.9243 0.1290


0.7217 0.0070 1.2135 0.8201 0.6546 0.6670 0.0931


102.4900 142.0100 172.3370 116.4560 92.9650 94.7430 13.2195


0.5947 0.8240 0.0058 0.6758 0.5394 0.5497 0.0767


0.8801 1.2194 0.0086 1.4798 0.7983 0.8134 0.1135


1.1025 1.5276 0.0108 1.8538 1.2527 1.0191 0.1422


1.0819 1.4990 0.0106 1.8191 1.2294 0.9814 0.1396


7.7530 10.7425 0.0756 13.0364 8.8097 7.0322 7.1658


Source: Bloomberg


Category: FinanceAsia

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