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Market Update

Asian Markets End Mixed; Tokyo, Hong Kong Regain

Asian markets ended mixed Tuesday after European debt-rating cuts by Moody’s weighed on investor confidence even as robust rally in property shares led Hang Seng higher while Japanese stocks recovered after the central bank announced a hike in its asset-purchase program.

At close, the Nikkei was up 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.3% while the Hang Seng gained 0.1%. The Sensex was also up 0.4% while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries declined 0.9%.

In an unexpected development, the Bank of Japan announced Tuesday it will increase its asset purchase programme to 55 trillion yen, a hike of 10 trillion yen to revive the economy which is saddled with deflation and a firming yen.

Stocks on the move

In Tokyo, the yen strengthened against the dollar in the wake of the central bank’s announcement. Exporters gained momentum, with Toyota Motor Corp. adding 1.8%.

Suzuki Motor Corp. drove up 1.5%  while Nissan Motor Corp. also added around 1%.

Consumer-electronics giant Sony Corp. was down 1.5% after the ratings cut. Europe accounts for nearly 21% of the company’s sales. Sharp Corp. also gave up 0.4%, while Canon Inc. was up 1.5%.

Manufacturer of solar panels and liquid-crystal displays, Ulvac Inc slumped 10.6% after the company forecast a full-year loss.

Olympus Corp. ended higher 1.72% after drifting lower as the company reported losses late Monday.

In Hong Kong, property shares firmed up with Sun Hung Kai Properties adding 3.6%. New World Development surged nearly 6%. China Resources Land gained 4.2%

Cathay Pacific airways was up 1.2% after the airlines reported 1.9% year-on-year increase in number of passengers for January.

On the negative side, Cosco Pacific erased 1.8%. The company operates container facilities at Piraeus port in Greece.

Resources were also hit; Anhui Conch Cement declined 3.2% while Angang Steel gave up 4.1%. China Coal Energy slid 1.4%.

Among banks, ICBC gained 0.8% while Bank of China was flat.

In Mumbai, SAIL gained 0.2% despite posting a more than expected 43 per cent slide in quarterly profit.

Banks were trading in the positive. SBI, the country’s biggest lender gained 3.3% while ICICI Bank added around 1%.

Among other gainers Tata Motors jumped 3.7% after the company reported a higher-than-expected 40.5% increase in quarterly profit.

L&T soared nearly 4% , while Maruti Suzuki added 3.2%. Mahindra & Mahindra was also up 1.9%

In Sydney, miners lost ground with BHP Billiton down 1.3% and Rio Tinto erasing 1.6%.

Alumina Ltd. gave up 3.3% while BlueScope Steel declined 2.5%. Woodside Petroleum slipped 1.2%

Among banks, Westpac shed 1.2% and NAB was down 1% while ANZ edged lower 0.4%.