Asian markets ended lower Thursday with India’s Sensex leading losses for the region’s benchmark indexes.
Data earlier today showed Japanese retail sales were down 4.4% in May on an annual basis, much lower than expectations for a 3.3% drop.
The yen was trading stronger at 101.61 versus the dollar, versus 101.97 yen a day earlier.
Other data in Australia showed a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly expenditure by private businesses. Another report showed the number of newly constructed homes sold in May rose 2.9% from the previous month.
Investors looked ahead to the release of the revised first-quarter GDP data due in the U.S. later in the global trading day.
Stocks on the Move
Exporters expectedly fared weaker with index heavyweight Sony and Hitachi both down a percent each. Fanuc was down 0.3%.
Retailers were also lower after the weak sales data with Fast Retailing down 0.1% and Seven & i Holdings off 0.3%. Aeon was down 0.8%. However, J. Front and Takashimaya swung to gains and were up 1.2% and 1.3% each respectively at market close.
Mitsubishi Heavy lifted 0.3%. The company’s president said he is on the lookout for possible acquisitions.
Auto shares ended mixed in China after the government said it is planning to pull out 6 million high-polluting cars and other older vehicles by the end of this year. Great Wall Motor was up 1.1% on the mainland while its Hong Kong-listed shares advanced 2.2%. Dongfeng closed up half a percent but Guangzhou Automobile swung to losses and ended down 0.1%. BYD Company also reversed gains and ended 3.3% lower.
Insurance stocks also gained following broker upgrades for several stocks including Ping An, up 0.3%, China Pacific, up 1.8%, and PICC Property & Casualty, up 0.4%.
Indian stocks fell again as investors continued to book profits after driving shares up to record highs in the last several sessions.
IT stocks were weak on the back of a stronger local currency. Infosys led losses, down 7.8%, while Wipro was down 2.6%. Infosys was also weighed by news the company’s President and board member B.G. Srinivas had submitted his resignation. Srinivas was seen by investors as a candidate for the next CEO position.
Hero MotoCorp was down 0.4% after results while BHEL also ended 2.8% lower ahead of its quarterly earnings.
Hindalco reversed losses and ended 1.4% higher after it announced its fourth-quarter results with forecast-beating revenue and operating margins.
ONGC ended 2.7% lower ahead of results due to be released later today. Cipla and Coal India also ended 1.8% ahead of their earnings announcements. Reporting after the market close, Coal India disappointed investors on both the net profit and operational fronts. Revenue was higher than estimated.
A host of other companies are also due to report later this evening.
Toll Holdings ended 4.9% higher in Sydney after the company announced job cuts.