Asia: Mostly up but sentiment takes a hit

14-Mar-2014 Intellasia | Business Times | Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | AP | 8:31 AM Print This Post

Asian markets were mostly higher yesterday Thursday March 13, 2014 but sentiment took a hit after China released another batch of disappointing data, adding to fears about growth in the economic giant.
The euro rose to a 29-month high against the dollar, while the Australian dollar also surged against its US counterpart after Sydney reported a jump in full-time employment.
Tokyo fell 0.10 per cent, or 14.41 points, to finish at 14,815.98, but Sydney rose 0.53 per cent, or 28.4 points, to close at 5,412.6. Seoul added 0.10 per cent, or 1.84 points, to 1,934.38.
Shanghai jumped 1.07 per cent, or 21.42 points, to end at 2,019.11, with analysts suggesting Chinese policymakers should start looking at moves to boost economic growth.
China said industrial output, which measures production at factories, workshops and mines, rose 8.6 per cent year-on-year in January and February, the slowest rate since April 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis.
At the same time, retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, were up 11.8 per cent, which was also the worst performance for several years.

HONGKONG: SHARES fell yesterday as another batch of weak Chinese data stoked fears for the world’s number two economy, although mainland markets surged after Premier Li Keqiang said he was confident growth would pick up.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index slipped 0.67 per cent, or 145.87 points, to 21,756.08.
Chinese Internet giant Tencent fell 2.33 per cent to HK$588, HSBC Holdings shed 0.76 per cent to HK$78 and ChinaVision Media Group plunged 11.48 per cent to HK$1.62, while banking giant ICBC gained 0.45 per cent to HK$4.46.

SINGAPORE: THE Straits Times Index fell 16.04 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 3081.39.
The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.11 per cent while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index added 0.36 per cent.
Among the active stocks, DBS lost 0.32 per cent, UOB added 0.30 per cent, Keppel Corp fell 1.69 per cent, GLP declined 2.13 per cent and SingTel was down 0.56 per cent.
Of the outperforming sectors, the FTSE ST Consumer Services Index was up 0.32 per cent. Of the two biggest stocks, Genting Singapore fell 0.38 per cent and Jardine Cycle & Carriage lost 0.08 per cent.

KUALA LUMPUR: SHARES on Bursa Malaysia closed mixed yesterday with gains in finance counters lifting the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI index slightly higher.
The benchmark index rose 0.26 point to 1,818.86, after moving between 1,816.76 and 1,821.57 points throughout the day.
Losers outpaced gainers by 415 to 325, with 341 counters unchanged, 550 untraded and 15 others suspended.
Volume fell to 1.70 billion shares worth RM2.15 billion from 1.71 billion shares worth RM2.21 billion on Wednesday.
Mercury Securities head of research Edmund Tham said sentiment was fragile, following China’s weak economic data.
The Finance Index increased 22.54 points to 16,382.53, the Plantation Index lost 51.71 points to 8,926.36, and the Industrial Index fell 4.34 points to 3,169.22.
The FBM Emas dropped 6.72 points to 12,605.93, the FBMT100 Index decreased 4.75 points to 12,272.89, the FBM 70 Index declined 30.76 points to 13,858.61, and the FBM ACE Index fell 0.58 point to 6,638.39.
Among actives, Infortech Alliance fell six sen to 39 sen, KNM-WA added 1.5 sen to 20.5 sen, and Iris Corp rose half-a-sen to 59 sen.
Of the heavyweights, Maybank was flat at RM9.51, TNB rose two sen to RM11.94, and CIMB added seven sen to RM7.09.
Meanwhile, FBM KLCI futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended higher with only two contracts month traded.
March 2014 rose 1.5 points to 1,815 and April 2014 added 2.5 points to 1,814.5, while June 2014 and September 2014 stood at 1,809 and 1,808.5, respectively.
Turnover fell to 4,549 lots from Wednesday’s 7,470 lots, while open interest decreased to 35,576 contracts from 38,423 contracts before.

In other markets:
* Taipei rose 0.73 per cent, or 63.06 points, to 8,747.79. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co jumped 3.1 per cent to T$116.5 while smartphone maker HTC fell 0.34 per cent to T$148.
* Wellington added 0.30 per cent, or 15.45 points, to 5,111.98. Fletcher Building was up 2.10 per cent at NZ$9.73 and Air New Zealand gained 2.45 per cent to NZ$1.88.
* Manila eased 0.51 per cent, or 32.68 points, to 6,429.79. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co dropped 2.23 per cent to 2,720 pesos while International Container Terminal Services Inc was unchanged at 100 pesos.
* Jakarta ended up 0.89 per cent, or 41.78 points, at 4,726.17. Retailer Hero Supermarket gained 2.41 per cent to 2,970 rupiah, while palm oil firm Wilmar Cahaya Indonesia slipped 0.32 per cent to 1,545 rupiah.
* Bangkok added 1.04 per cent, or 14.08 points, to 1,370.50. Coal producer Banpu rose 2.97 per cent to 26 baht, while Bangkok Bank gained 0.28 points to 177.50 baht.
* Mumbai fell 0.37 per cent, or 81.61 points, to 21,774.61. Infosys shed 8.54 per cent to 3,357.50 rupees and L&T Finance Holdings lost 7.04 per cent to 79.20 rupees.

VIETNAM: The benchmark VN Index rose 5.2 points or 0.86% to 595.22. Volume fell 25% to 133.8 million shares worth of VND2.311 trillion.
Put-through trading contributed 3.4 million shares worth of VND173.79 billion. We saw 1.1 million VNG shares changed hands at the ceiling price and 0.56 million VNM shares changed hands also at ceiling price.
The market breadth was positive with 154 gainers, 77 losers and 64 unchanged.
The VN30 rose 5.37 points or 0.81% to 669.21. Among 30 constituents, 21 gained, 3 fell, 6 stood still.
On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX rose 0.98 point or 1.18% to 84.15. Trading volume rose 5% to 91.3 million shares worth VND879 billion.
The breadth was positive with 150 gainers, 81losers, 71 unchanged and the  rest untraded.
The HNX30 gained 2.95 points or 1.78% to 169.14.

EUROPE: European stocks were mixed yesterday as investors weighed the latest news in crisis-hit Ukraine, while the euro spiked to a 29-month peak against the dollar, dealers said.
In afternoon trading, London’s FTSE 100 slid 0.08 per cent to 6,615.37 points.
In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 rose by 0.35 per cent from Wednesday’s closing values to 9,220.85 points and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 0.21 per cent to 4,315.37.
“European indices are little changed… with traders tending to stay on the side-lines for now and closely watching events unfolding in Ukraine,” said analyst Markus Huber at brokerage Peregrine & Black.

AMERICA: Increasing worries about China’s economy and rising tensions over Ukraine rattled the stock market Thursday.

Investors sold stocks and shifted to safer assets like bonds. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points and Treasury prices rose.

It was the worst day for the market in six weeks and the fourth loss in a row for the Dow. The plunge was a sharp contrast to the relatively quiet trading Monday through Wednesday following a record-setting run last week.

“The data out of China has been weak. The retail sector in America seems to be a total disaster. It’s enough, combined with what’s going on in Ukraine, to get people a little bit nervous and sell,” said Ian Winer, director of trading at Wedbush Securities.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 231.19 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,108.89. The S&P 500 index fell 21.86 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 1,846.34. The Nasdaq composite dropped 62.91 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,260.42.

The last time the market had a bigger decline was Feb. 3, when the Dow sank 326 points, or 2.1 percent.

Thursday’s slide erased the S&P 500 index’s gains for the year and extended the Dow’s year-to-date loss to 2.8 percent. The Nasdaq is still up 2 percent so far this year.

Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index fell. The technology sector lost the most. Utilities bucked the trend, rising 0.9 percent. Investors tend to buy those stocks when they want to reduce risk and hold stable companies that pay steady dividends.

Bond prices rose as traders sought safety. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined to 2.65 percent from 2.73 percent a day earlier as bond prices rose.

Concerns over China worsened Thursday after government figures there showed industrial production rose in the first two months of the year at a rate that was lower than analysts were expecting. Retail sales growth also fell short of estimates.

“At this stage, investors are linking these negative data points coming out of China and they don’t like what they see,” said Lawrence Creatura, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors. “Even small hiccups there can have large implications for investors.”

Stocks rose slightly in the early going, then turned lower in late morning trading after President Barack Obama issued remarks after meeting with Ukraine’s new prime minister at the White House. Obama said that if Russia continues an aggressive path in Ukraine, the United States and other countries will be “forced to apply costs” to Moscow.

Citizens in the Ukrainian region of Crimea are set to vote on joining Russia on Sunday. The U.S. and European Union say the referendum violates Ukraine’s constitution and international law. Russia has said it will respect the results.

Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate committee on Thursday that Moscow should expect the U.S. and Europe to take measures against it should Russia act on a vote by Crimea to join Russia.

“The hardening of the rhetoric in these communications is a change,” Creatura said.

Winer said that investors weren’t panicked.

“The selling is pretty complacent,” he said. “This is more about how people are positioned in the market.”

In corporate news, Dollar General fell $1.63, or 3 percent, to $57.66 after the company reported that its fourth-quarter earnings took a hit from harsh winter storms. It also issued a poor outlook for the year. Other retailers have also reported weaker sales because of the extreme winter weather.

Several companies that provide oil and gas offshore drilling services fell.

Diamond Offshore Drilling fell $1.99, or 4.3 percent, to $44.39, while Noble Corp. shed $1.38, or 4.5 percent, to $28.98. Transocean lost $1.25, or 3.1 percent, to $39.54, and National Oilwell Varco slid $2.13, or 2.8 percent, to $75.18.

Investors received some encouraging news on the U.S. employment picture. The government reported that applications for unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 last week to 315,000. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs. The declines indicate companies are confident enough about the economy to keep their staffs.

Benchmark Currency Rates



1.3859 0.0098 1.6614 1.1420 0.9022 0.9027 0.1288


0.7215 0.0071 1.1987 0.8239 0.6510 0.6512 0.0929


101.8200 141.1400 169.1800 116.2810 91.8770 91.9130 13.1149


0.6019 0.8342 0.0059 0.6874 0.5431 0.5433 0.0775


0.8757 1.2137 0.0086 1.4548 0.7901 0.7905 0.1128


1.1083 1.5362 0.0109 1.8414 1.2656 1.0004 0.1427


1.1078 1.5355 0.0109 1.8407 1.2651 0.9996 0.1427


7.7648 10.7613 0.0763 12.9001 8.8671 7.0057 7.0084

Source: Bloomberg


Category: FinanceAsia

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