RTTNews - The markets in Asia-Pacific region open for trading ended mixed on Wednesday, ahead of key economic data in the U.S. The Shanghai Composite Index in China closed above the 3,000-mark following better than expected economic data. Profit taking in Japan and drop in home building approvals in Australia dragged the respective markets lower. Among other markets, India, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan markets ended in positive territory. The market in Hong Kong is closed for a public holiday.

In the U.S., stocks ended sharply lower in negative territory, dragged down by lower-than-expected consumer confidence numbers.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a closely watched measure of home prices, showed a 0.6% decline from March to April, according to a survey of prices in 20 U.S. cities. Home prices were down 18.1% compared to the same period last year.

A report from the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 49.3 in June from a revised 54.8 in May. Economists expected the index to edge up to 55.3 from the 54.9 originally reported for the previous month. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago said its index of activity in the manufacturing sector jumped to 39.9 in June from 34.9 in May

The Dow closed down by 82.38 points or 1% at 8,447, the Nasdaq dipped by 9.02 points or 0.5% to 1,835, and the S&P 500 fell 7.91 points or 0.9% to 919.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened lower at 9,889 compared to its previous close of 9,9958, on weak cues from Wall Street, but climbed above the unchanged line following the release of Tankan Survey, which, however, did not have any surprise element. The market continued to trade northward and passed the psychological 10,000-mark in late day trading. However, news about sale of shares by many companies including All Nippon Airways and Orix, as well as caution ahead of key economic data in the U.S led to profit taking by traders, and the index, having given away all the gains during the session, ended at 9,340, representing a loss of 18.51 points, or 0.19%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues fell 1.46 points, or 0.16% to 928.

Light sweet crude for August delivery ended at $70.23, up 34 cents in the Asian session after ending Tuesday's volatile session in New York at $69.89, representing a loss of $1.60 a barrel amid increasing concerns about the recovery.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan, in its Quarterly Tankan Survey, revealed that confidence in Japan's large manufacturers improved in the second quarter for the first time since Dec 2006. However, the gains were not as much as expected. The diffusion index for big manufacturers posted a score of -48, which was up from the record low -58 in the previous quarter but shy of forecasts for -43. The outlook for the third quarter shows -30 versus expectations for -34 following -51 in the previous three months. The big non-manufacturers index came in at -29, while small manufacturers were -57 and small non-manufacturers were at -44.

All Nippon Airways led the market lower with a loss of 5.9% following reports in the press that the airliner is planning to sell shares. Orix, the largest non-banking financial company in the country, which is also believed to be planning a share sale, sank 4.9%.

Softer commodity prices in the international market dragged the trading and oil stocks lower. Inpex Corp., the nation's biggest oil explorer, lost 2.7%. Nippon Oil fell 1.75% and Showa Shell edged down 0.68%.

Among trading houses, Mitsui & Co., fell 1.5%, Itochu Corp shed 1.34% and Sumitomo Corp declined 1.73%.

Property stocks ended in positive territory after JPMorgan raised its industry outlook from Neutral to Bullish. NTT Urban climbed 5.5% and Sumitomo Realty advanced 1.9%

Mixed trend was witnessed among the financial stocks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 0.67%, Resona Holdings gained 0.96% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 2.80%. However, Mizuho Financial lost 1.67%.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,948 and drifted swiftly into negative territory on weak clues from Wall Street. Mixed economic data and softening commodity prices also dented hopes of an early recovery After the initial slump, the index moved sideways for the rest of the session and ended with a loss of 75.50 points, or 1.91%, at 3,872. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 3,874, representing a loss of 80.90 points, or 2.05%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Building approvals in the country were down a seasonally adjusted 12.5% in May compared to the previous month, snapping the three months of gains. Analysts had been expecting a 3.0 percent gain after the revised 4.1 percent increase in April. In a separate report, the Statistics Bureau revealed that retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1% in May, faster than a 0.3% increase in April and double the economists' expectation for a 0.5% rise. Analysts were apprehensive of the surprise increase in retail sales during May, attributing the recent spurt to stimulus handouts from the government and do not expect the rising trend to last long.

Metal stocks ended weaker following a drop in metal prices in London Metal Exchange. BHP Billiton declined 2.36%, Rio Tinto lost 1.15%, Oz Minerals ifell 3.29% and Fortescue Metals declined 2.64%.

Among oil companies, Woodside Petroleum fell 1.76%, and Santos lost 1.43%. However, Oil Search bucked the trend and gained 1.10%.

Retailer David Jones, which soared more than 10% on Tuesday after raising its guidance for the year, declined 2.20%. Among others in the retail space, Harvey Norman lost 1.82% and Wesfarmers declined 1.77%.

Financial stocks also ended in negative territory on concerns about growth. ANZ Bank lost 1.43%, Commonwealth Bank Australia fell 2.23%, National Australia Bank shed 3.34% and Westpac Banking Corp. declined 2.81%.

The market in Hong Kong is closed for a public holiday.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in positive territory led by financials on expectations of better earnings for the second quarter,defying the weak cues from Wall Street. The market opened slightly lower at 1,386 compared to previous close at 1,390 but moved above the unchanged territory led by financials and technology stocks. The index remained in the positive territory for the rest of the session and ended at 1,412, up 21.59 points, or 1.55%.

KB Financial Group, which controls Kookmin Bank, soared 8.64%, and Shinhan Financial Group gained 4.19%. Woori Finance advanced 4.90%.

Technology stocks also ended higher. Market leader Samsung Electronics advanced 1.86% and consumer electronics giant LG Electronics added 1.28%. Among the automakers, Ssangyong Motor, which had shed 15% each on the past two days on labor disputes, reversed trend and surged more than 15%.

In India, the stock market ended in the positive territory on expectations of market-friendly and reform-oriented budget from a stronger Congress government.

The BSE Sensex finished at 14,645, up 151.63 points or 1.03% from its previous close, and the broader Nifty Index gained 49.80 points, or 1.16% to close at 4,341.

Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 48.79 points, or 1.65% to close at 3,008, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index advanced 1.63% or 33.10 points, to close at 2,060, Taiwan's Weighted Index surged 2.28% or 146.81 points, to close at 6,579 and the Strait Times Index in Singapore added 19.41 points, or 0.83% to close at 2,353.

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