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Market Update

Asian Markets End Mostly Up

Asian markets finished mostly higher Thursday but Japanese stocks lost ground after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged.

The Nikkei, which was trading higher ahead of the BOJ’s decision, slipped into the red, ending down 1.6% as the yen grew stronger against the dollar on heels of the announcement.

China’s Shanghai Composite also gave up early gains to finish slightly higher, up 0.1%, but elsewhere Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished up 0.3%, Mumbai’s Sensex climbed 0.7% while Australia’s S&P/ASX All Ordinaries gained 1%.

A host of economic indicators around the region provided a mixed view of the economy.

Data showed Japan’s June current account balance rose less than expected to 650 billion yen from 620 billion yen in June. Analysts had expected a reading of 730 billion. Lending in Japan rose 2% in the second quarter after rising 1.9% in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, in China, official data released showed the country’s trade balance fell in July. Exports beat estimates. Additional trade data is due out later in the day.

In Australia, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7% last month, better than the expected reading of 5.8%, although employers cut 10,200 jobs in July.

Stocks on the Move

Nikon Corp. slipped 1.3% ahead of its results announcement.

Index heavyweight Sony was down 1.3% while Panasonic extended yesterday’s slide, down a further 3.3%.

Fanuc lost early gains and finished down over 1% as the yen grew stronger.

Zijin Mining Group was up 1.3% in Hong Kong tracking a slight increase in gold prices. However, Aluminum Corp. of China was down 1.2%.

On the mainland, Shandong Gold Mining brightened 0.2%.

SAIC Motor backtracked 0.8% while in real estate, Gemdale Corp. retreated 1.6%. China Vanke and Poly real Estate were marginally up.

Metal players, auto stocks and pharma stocks were among the top gainers in Mumbai. Hindalco Industries topped the chart, up 5.4%, followed by Tata Steel (+5.2%), Cipla (+5.1%), Maruti Suzuki (+3.9%), Bharti Airtel (+3.2%) and Mahindra & Mahindra (+2.4%).

Telstra rose 2.4% in Sydney after reporting results that showed better-than-expected annual profit, while Rio Tinto gained 1.5%, ahead of its own results.

Index leader BHP Billiton was up 1.2% but gold miner Newcrest Mining slipped 0.5%.