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Market Update

Asian Markets Waver; Data, Syria in Focus

Asian markets swung between gains and losses Friday after the release of a batch of economic data from the region while worries about the Syrian conflict still loomed large.

At the time of writing, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries rose 0.5% while the Sensex edged up 0.1% in a volatile session.

On the other side, the Hang Seng slipped 0.1% and the Nikkei lost 0.2% at 12:45 p.m. Tokyo time.

Official economic reports released today showed Japan's core consumer price inflation was a more-than-expected 0.7% in July as compared with 0.4% in June.

Meanwhile, industrial production in the country increased a less-than-expected 3.2% in July, following a 3.1% decline in the previous month.

According to a separate report, unemployment rate in Japan dropped to 3.8% in July from 3.9% in June. Analysts were expecting the unemployment rate to come in steady.

In Australia, report published by the central bank said private sector credit in the country expanded 0.4% in July, which is the same as reported in the previous month.

Overnight, data released in the U.S. showed the economy grew at a faster than expected annual rate of 2.5% in the second quarter. Wall Street stocks ended in the green on heels of the upbeat data even as worries about Syria seemed to have abated slightly.

Investors in Asia, however, continued to tread cautiously although reports said U.K. lawmakers had turned down a motion to authorize in principle a military strike against Syria.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, was prepared to go ahead on a limited military action on Syria without the U.K., the New York Times reported. The White House was expected to present its case for military action to Congressional leaders Thursday night.

Oil futures ticked lower after U.K.'s vote against military strikes on Syria eased some concerns of the escalating geopolitical tension thwarting global oil supply. Gold and silver prices also eased as risk sentiment improved a bit.

Stocks on the Move

Exporters traded mostly higher in Tokyo. Panasonic Corp. rose 2.9%, Advantest Corp. added 2.1% while Canon Inc. tacked on a percent.

On the earnings front, Sumco gained 2% on expectations of 80% gain in operating profit for the Feb-July period.

Hokkaido Electric Power soared 4% after the company said it expected a narrower loss for the next fiscal year.

On the downside, Nintendo Co. tumbled over 5% after slashing the price of its Wi U video-game console.

Oil stocks also moved lower tracking losses in global crude prices. Inpex Corp. fell over 2% while JX Holdings slipped 1.3%.

In Hong Kong, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. lost 1.2% while CNOOC Ltd. eased 0.6%.

Property developers were also trading mostly lower. China Resources Land erased 1% while Sino Land Company eased 0.1%.

In the financials segment, ICBC slipped 0.2%, China Construction Bank fell 1.1% and Agricultural Bank of China retreated 0.6%.

Ping An Insurance climbed 0.8% after posting higher first-half profit.

More on earnings, Shanghai Industrial Holdings  reported a 34% decline in its first-half profits. Shares of the investment holding company fell 1.8%.

In Mumbai, all eyes were on the GDP data due to be released later today. Markets were trading cautiously higher with drugmakers, IT firms and banks leading the pace.

Top runners Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, Wipro and HDFC Bank added 2% to 3%.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Virgin Australia Holdings dropped 2.5% as the airline posted $88 million in annual loss.

Close rival Qantas Airways fell 3.6% after rallying in the previous session in wake of upbeat results released yesterday.

Among others, banking stocks were trading with gains with NAB and Westpac Banking adding around 0.3% each while ANZ gained 0.5%.

In the resources segment, leading miner BHP Billiton added 0.7% but Rio Tinto slipped 0.4%.