RTTNews - Mixed trading was witnessed among the markets across Asia Pacific region on Wednesday as traders preferred to lock in gains following a recent rally that raised hopes of recovery. The markets in Australia, Japan, South Korea and China ended in positive territory while the markets in HongKong, India, Indonesia and Singapore ended in negative territory.

Despite showing choppiness for the better part of the session, the major U.S. averages ended Tuesday's session higher, propelled by the optimism generated by positive earnings news. Better-than-expected results from Caterpillar (CAT), Coca-Cola (KO), Dupont (DD), Merck (MRK) and United Technologies (UTX) and increasing hopes about recovery prospects overshadowed the cautionary remarks of Bernanke who reiterated that the the economy is still in a fragile state, with unemployment high and consumer spending shaky. Bernanke, however, acknowledged that the U.S. economy is showing signs of stabilization and that the stimulus package that authorities pumped into the global economy late last year probably helped to avoid a collapse of the financial system.

The Dow advanced 67.79 points or 0.8% to 8,916, the Nasdaq climbed 6.91 points or 0.4% to 1,916 and the S&P 500 rose 3.45 points or 0.4% to 955.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened slightly lower at 9,643 compared to its previous close of 9,652 and drifted lower on profit taking in early trading. However, technology stocks led the gains and lifted the index above the unchanged line on expectations that rise in global demand might induce companies to raise prices. Increasing optimism about recovery prospects also improved sentiment amid modest volumes and the market finally ended the session at 9,723, up 71.14 points, or 0.74%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues rose 5.03 points, or 0.6%, to 907.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery ended the Asian trading session at $65.28, down $0.33 from its previous close in New York at $65.61 on Tuesday.

Technology-related stocks advanced following better results from Apple Inc. (AAPL). Toshiba Corp., maker of flash memory chips, surged up 5%.

Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., engaged in the manufacture of silicon wafers, gained 4.7% after reporting that it is in negotiations with customers to increase the prices. Sumco Corp, the second largest maker of silicon wafers, rose 4.64%.

Steel stocks gained on expectations of rise in steel prices. JFE Holdings surged up 6.1% and Nippon Steel gained 2.27%.

Property stocks declined on concerns that the recovery might not be quick but a painfully slow one. NTT Urban Development Corp. declined 4.5% and Nomura Real Estate Holdings shed 2.5%.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the banking stocks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial edged up 0.18%, Mizuho Financial gained 3.57% and Resona Holdings advanced 0.98%. However, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group bucked the trend and slipped 0.53%.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 4,048. After showing some volatility in early trading, the market continued its northward march, led by gains in mining and energy stocks. The index remained above the unchanged line throughout the rest of the session, trading in a narrow range of 27 points, and closed slightly below the day's high at 4,069, representing a gain of 20.60 points or 0.51%. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended with a gain of 0.44% or 17.8 points, at 4,069.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that consumer prices rose at a slower year-over-year pace in the three months ended June. However, the Bureau stated that on a quarterly basis, consumer prices climbed at a faster pace. The consumer price index climbed 1.5% year-on-year in the second quarter, slower than the 2.5% rise in the first quarter, although the increase was in line with economists' estimates.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery ended the Asian trading session at $65.28, down $0.33 from its previous close in New York at $65.61 on Tuesday.

Metals and energy stocks continued to advance on higher commodity prices. BHP Billiton gained 1.96%. Earlier the company reported yet another solid production performance for the year 2008/09 despite a contraction in demand and weak economic conditions. Among other stocks, Rio Tinto gained 1.62%, Fortescue Metals rose 2.14%, Iluka Resources added 2.37% and Oz Minerals surged up 6.40%.

Energy stocks gained on higher crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum advanced 1.18% and Santos rose 1.44%. However, Oil Search bucked the trend and slipped 1.43% on profit taking.

Gold stocks ended weaker on profit taking. Lihir Gold shed 1.72%, Newcrest Mining lost 1.84% and Sino Gold fell 2.86%.

Mixed performance was witnessed among the retail stocks. David Jones gained 4.07% and Wesfarmers climbed 1.99%, but Harvey Norman slipped 2.45% and Woolworths edged down 0.43%.

Trading in National Australia Bank was halted following the news that the bank is planning to raise as much as A$2.75 billion through the sale of shares in an effort to weather its rising bad loans and also for funding potential acquisitions.

Among other banks, ANZ Bank managed to add 0.78%, while Commonwealth Bank Australia and Westpac Banking Corp declined 1.64% and 2.41%, respectively.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended in the negative territory as traders preferred to lock in gains in late trading on evidence of fatigue in the global rally. The market opened higher at 19,560 compared to its previous close at 19,502 following strong gains in Wall Street Tuesday. The market continued to hold on to the gains in early trading on hopes of global recovery. However, profit taking after smart rally in the past few trading sessions amid signs of weakness across the region dragged the indices below the unchanged line. The market finally ended with a loss of 253.56 points, or 1.30% at 19,248.

Banks, telecom and property stocks led the decline on profit taking.

In telecom space, Tencent Holdings edged down 0.60%, China Unicom fell 1.96% and China Mobile lost 2.27%.

Among financials, HSBC Holdings shed 2.23%, Hang Seng Bank slipped 0.89%, China Commercial Bank lost 2.33%, and Bank of Communications lost 1.40%. Insurance stocks also ended lower on profit taking. FIH fell 3.13%, Ping An lost 2.65% and China Life edged down 0.75%.

In property space, SHK Property fell 1.93%, Swire Pacific lost 4.65%, Sino Land edged down 0.41% and Wharf Holdings slumpted 5.88%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in positive territory following positive closing on Wall Street on optimism about recovery later in the year. The market opened higher at 1,492 compared to previous close at 1,489 on Wall Street cues. However, profit taking at higher levels dragged the index lower and the market ended with a gain of 5.05 points or 0.34% at 1,494.

Steel stocks advanced on expectations of a rise in steel prices. Steel major POSCO gained 2.61% and Hyundai Steel edged up 0.16%. Shipbuilders advanced on expectation of revival in the global recovery. Hyundai Heavy Industries gained 3.69% and Samsung Heavy Industries added 1.17%.

Profit taking dragged the major stocks lower. Samsung Electronics slipped 0.58% and Hynix Semiconductor lost 1.17% . Financials also ended in negative territory.

The Indian market tumbled on Wednesday, as weak European markets and lower U.S. index futures led to further profit taking following sharp gains in recent sessions. The BSE Sensex finished at 14,843, down 219 points or 1.46% from its previous close, and the S&P CNX Nifty fell 70 points or 1.57% to close at 4,399.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 83.41 points, or 2.60% to close at 3,297 and Taiwan's Weighted Index added 31.98 points, or 0.46% to close at 6,985. However, Singapore's Strait Times Index dropped 3.50 points, or 0.14% to close at 2,451 and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index lost 20.94 points, or 0.98% to close at 2,126.

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