Asian shares slightly weaker; Japan data in focus

01-Mar-2014 Intellasia | CNBC | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Asian equities were a mixed on Friday, despite overnight gains on Wall Street and as investors digested a raft of Japanese economic data.

US stocks rose Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would probably continue tapering its asset purchases while tracking data to figure how much recent softness in the economy is due to the weather.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 advanced 0.5 percent, with the latter hitting a record close of 1,854. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.6 percent.

Name Price Change percentChange

NIKKEI Nikkei 225 Index 14920.65

-2.46 -0.02 percent

HSI Hang Seng Index 22787.91

-40.27 -0.18 percent

ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 5406.60

-4.85 -0.09 percent

SHANGHAI Shanghai Composite Index 2027.07

-20.29 -0.99 percent

KOSPI KOSPI Index 1976.63

-1.80 -0.09 percent

CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 7089.82

-11.96 -0.17 percent

Tokyo down 0.3 percent

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index remained sluggish on Friday, despite a raft of latest data indicating that the world’s third largest economy was off to a great start for 2014.

Earlier on Friday, January retail sales figures beat expectations to rise an annual 4.4 percent, posting a fastest annual gain since April 2012. Industrial output data also soared 4 percent in January, marking a second straight month of gains.

Meanwhile, the core consumer price index was up an annual 1.3 percent, above analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 percent rise. Household spending also impressed on the upside, climbing 1.1 percent in January on-year, well above expectations for a 0.2 percent gain.

The country’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was steady at 3.7 percent last month, in line with expectations.

Index heavyweights Softbank and Rakuten lost 1.2 percent, while Panasonic dropped 1.3 percent after two consecutive sessions of gains on news that the firm is inviting a number of Japanese suppliers to join it in an investment plan with Tesla Motor.

Shanghai slips 0.2 percent

Mainland shares were down in negative territory on early Friday, as declines from banking stocks weighed on the bourse.

Hua Xia Bank and Minsheng Bank remained the biggest loser among its banking peers, registering a 0.9 and 1.4 percent loss each.

Sydney flat

Australian shares erased earlier gains of nearly 0.5 percent to trade modestly in the negative territory. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 index had seen its biggest one-day loss in three weeks on Thursday, as flagship carrier Qantas’ dismal earnings report weighed on sentiment.

Qantas Airways recovered from a 9 percent slump to claw back 0.9 percent early Friday.

Earnings continued to weigh on sentiment. Airline Virgin Australia fell 1 percent, as a bruising price war with rival Qantas took a toll, resulting in a pre-tax loss of A$49.7 million ($44.55 million) for its fiscal first half.

Australian supermarket and grocery store chain Woolworths dunked over 2 percent, despite interim net profit beating expectations to rise 14.5 percent.

Seoul flat

South Korean shares hovered near the unchanged territory on the last trading day of the week.

Automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors lost 0.2 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Outperforming the bourse was Naver which rose 2.4 percent. The stock has been moving on reports earlier this week that SoftBank is seeking to buy a stake in Naver’s mobile-messaging service Line.

SK Holdings continued to trade in the positive territory with a 0.3 percent gain, despite its chair Chey Tae-won receiving a four-year prison sentence for embezzlement on Thursday. This was one of the longest confirmed prison terms for a business leader in South Korea.


Category: FinanceAsia

Print This Post

Comments are closed.