Asian Markets Drop After Last Week?s Rally

on September 17 2012 12:04 AM
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei
An investor checks stock information with a computer at a brokerage house in Hefei, Anhui province Feb. 20, 2012. REUTERS

Most of the Asian markets dropped Monday after the rally last week when investor confidence was buoyed by the optimism that the stimulus measures announced by the central banks in the U.S. and the Europe would help revive the global economic growth momentum.

Chinese Shanghai Composite fell 1.21 percent or 25.71 points to 2098.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.09 percent or 18.65 points to 20611.13. Among major gainers were Sands China Ltd (1.58 percent) and CNOOC Ltd (2.81 percent).

South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index fell 0.44 percent or 8.84 points to 1998.74. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd dropped 1.65 percent and those of LG Electronics Inc advanced 1.06 percent.

Stock markets are closed in Japan Monday due to a public holiday.

India's BSE Sensex rose 1.29 percent or 238.40 points to 18702.67. Among major gainers were Bharti Airtel (2.20 percent), Tata Motors Ltd (2.11 percent) and ICICI Bank (2.06 percent).

Markets were following a bullish trend after the European Central Bank announced stimulus measures September 6. Market players were encouraged as President Mario Draghi unveiled a new bond-buying plan called the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT). Bonds in the countries implementing the approved fiscal austerity measures and maturing within three years will be focused in the OMT. Investors felt that such bold measures would give the much-needed thrust to boost liquidity in the euro zone financial system.

Market confidence was further lifted as the U.S. Federal Reserve announced September 13 an open ended QE3 focused on mortgage-backed securities purchases to revive the economy. It also extended its conditional commitment to leave its policy rate at near-zero until mid-2015. This has given the signal to markets that the Fed doesn't intend to withdraw its accommodative policy stance any time soon.

Investor sentiment turned positive as the Fed confirmed that it would purchase $40 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities per month with no end date or dollar limit was placed on the program. Market participants cheered to note that the indication is that the Fed would keep purchasing mortgage-backed securities until the labor market outlook improved sufficiently.