RTTNews - Mixed trading was witnessed among the major Asian markets on Thursday after Dow component Alcoa reported better than expected results for the second quarter on Wednesday. A rebound in oil prices and bargain hunting helped markets trim losses and look forward for direction from Wall Street for further cues on recovery prospects. While the markets in Australia, Japan and South Korea ended in negative territory, the markets in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan ended in positive territory.
In the U.S., stocks ended mixed amid choppy trading as traders preferred to stay away from taking positions ahead of results from Alcoa. Defensive stocks such as pharmaceuticals, retail and oil service stocks posted gains, while metals, banks, telecommunication and networking stocks saw considerable weakness.
The Dow closed up by 14.81 points or 0.2% at 8,178 and the Nasdaq rose by 1 point or 0.1% to 1,747, while the S&P 500 fell 1.47 points or 0.2% to 880.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply lower at 9,342 compared to its previous close of 9,421 and continued to drift lower on stronger yen. A minor attempt to trim losses in mid-morning session proved futile and the index ended the trading session at 9,291, representing a loss of 129.69 points, or 1.38%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues issues declined 14.63 points, or 1.65%, to 874.
Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended at $60.56 a barrel in Asian trading, up $0.42 a barrel, after declining $2.79 to close $60.14 a barrel in New York amid increasing concerns about demand and a global recovery.
Exporters declined following a stronger local currency. Honda Motor declined 2.72%, Canon Inc fell 1.51%, Mitsubishi Corp lost 1.47%, Sony Corp. shed 2.81% and Sumitomo Corp declined 1.54%.
Banking stocks declined on concerns about recovery. Mitsubishi UFJ lost 3.51%, Mizuho Financial fell 2.83%, Bank of Yokohama slumped 3.38%, Resona Holdings slipped 3.27% and Sumitomo Mitsui declined 3.01%.
Oil stocks also ended in negative territory. Impex edged down 0.57%, Nippon Oil lost 1.62% and Showa Shell fell 2.24%.
In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,766 and drifted into negative territory However, the index trimmed its losses, as traders digested Alcoa's results and a better-than-expected jobs report. The index ended with a loss of 4.60 points, or 0.12% at 3,761. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended with a loss of 4.60 points, or 0.12% at 3,763.
On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that the unemployment rate rose 0.1% in June from the month before to 5.8%, the highest level since October 2003. Economists expected the employment rate to touch 5.9%. The number of employed Australians decreased by 21,400 in June, also less than the 25,000 decline estimated by economists. Separately, a Survey of Consumer Inflation Expectations conducted by the Melbourne Institute showed that the median expected inflation rate rose to 3.2% in July from 2.8% in June.
Diversified manufacturing company CSR Ltd gained 5.59% following reports that the company expects to report higher earnings for the year ending March 2010.
Gold stocks ended mixed despite a drop in bullion prices. Lihir Gold advanced 1.42% and Newcrest Mining added 2.10%. However, Sino Gold declined 1.65%.
Mixed trend is being witnessed among metal stocks. Rio Tinto shed 1.47%, Fortescue Metals fell 2.25%, and Oz Minerals lost 3.91%. However, BHP Billiton bucked the trend and ended with a gain of 0.47%.
Oil stocks ended mixed. While Woodside Petroleum edged down 0.22%, Santos gained 1.77% and Oil Search advanced 1.35%.
Financial stocks also ended mixed. ANZ Bank fell 2.76% Commonwealth Bank Australia slipped 0.43% and National Australia Bank edged down 0.09%. However, Westpac Banking bucked the trend and edged up 0.21%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened higher at 17,794 compared to its previous close at 17,721, following better-than-expected results from Alcoa after the markets closed in Wall Street, but drifted into negative territory on concerns about global recovery amid lower commodity prices. Positive car sales data from mainland China and rebound in oil prices in Asian trading helped indices move northward above the unchanged line into positive territory. The index finally ended the session in positive territory with a gain of 69.52 points, or 0.39%, at 17,791.
China Resources surged 6.83%, China Resource Power Holdings gained 1.70% and China Mercantile Holdings added 0.47%. Among telecom stocks, China Unicom gained 1.86% and China Mobile rose 1.07%, but Tencent Holdings slipped 0.27%.
Resource stocks ended mixed following a minor rebound in oil prices. While Coal-miner China Shenhua declined 2.55% and Aluminum Corp of China, or CHALCO, edged down 0.29%, PetroChina gained 1.00%, and CNOOC advanced 2.13%.
Property stocks ended mixed. Sino Land edged down 0.15%, Wharf Holdings slipped 0.67%, and New World Development lost 1.36%. However, SHK Property bucked the trend and gained 1.36%.
In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended flat, literally unchanged from its previous close, amid volatile trading as investors preferred to lock in gains and move to sidelines awaiting cues for economic recovery. The market opened slightly lower at 1,429 compared to previous close at 1,431, but moved into positive territory on Alcoa results and slight rebound in oil prices. However, caution ahead of recovery prospects and earnings dragged indices lower on profit taking. The index ended with a loss of 0.13 points or 0.01% at 1,431.
Technology stocks dragged the index down. Bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.76% and LG Electronics shed 1.14%. However, L G Display bucked the trend and advanced 1.00%.
Among automakers, Hyundai Motor declined 1.28% on concerns about its future exports to other countries.
In India, the stock market ended flat amid worries about progress of monsoon rains and fears of a possible downgrade of the nation's sovereign rating by international rating agencies.
The BSE Sensex finished at 13,757, down 11.69 points, or 0.08% from its previous close, while the broader Nifty Index edged up 2.05 points, or 0.05% to close at 4,081.
Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index ended in positive territory with a gain of 42.26 points or 1.37% at 3,123, Singapore's Strait Times Index gained 47.84 points, or 2.129% to 2.308, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index added 0.73 points, or 0.03% to close at 2,084, and Taiwan's Weighted Index surged 80.01 points, or 1.20% to close at 6,748.
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