RTTNews - Asian markets ended in negative territory on Thursday as traders preferred to exercise caution ahead of key jobs report in the U.S later in the day. Most of the markets opened in positive territory taking cues from Wall Street gains on Wednesday but drifted into the red or trimmed their gains awaiting key signals regarding global recovery from the U.S. China's Shanghai Composite Index, however, continued its northward march and ended in positive territory.

In the U.S., stocks managed to end the first day of second half in positive territory amid mixed economic data in yet another day characterized by lower volumes.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management said its index of activity in the manufacturing rose to 44.8 in June from 42.8 in May, which came roughly in line with the expectations of economists, who forecast a reading of 44.9. In a separate report, housing industry group NAR said its pending home sales index rose 0.1% to 90.7 in May from an upwardly revised reading of 90.6 in April.

The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending fell 0.9% in May following a revised 0.6% increase in the previous month. ADP said that non-farm private employment fell by 473,000 jobs in June following a revised decrease of 485,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a decrease of 394,000 jobs compared to the loss of 532,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Dow closed up by 57.06 points or 0.7% at 8,504, the Nasdaq rose by 10.68 points or 0.6% to 1,846 and the S&P 500 advanced by 4.01 points or 0.4% to 923.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened higher at 9,994 compared to its previous close of 9,940, following positive closing on Wall Street. However, lack of trading cues and caution ahead of key economic report in the U.S led the stocks lower as traders preferred to lock in gains and move to sidelines. The index ended at 9,876, representing a loss of 63.78 points, or 0.64%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues declined 4.28 points, or 0.46% to 924.

Light sweet crude for August delivery ended at $69.12, down 19 cents in the Asian session after ending Wednesday's volatile session in New York at $69.31, representing a loss of $0.58 a barrel amid concerns about the recovery.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan, revealed that the monetary base in the country expanded by 6.4% year-on-year in June, following a 7.9% gain in May and an 8.2% rise in April.

Banking stocks led the decline on concerns that merger of banks might not result in the emergence of a strong lender in the market. Shinsei Bank lost 5.10%, Chiba Bank fell 2.55%, Mizuho Financial shed 0.43%, Resona Holdings declined 1.17% and Sumitomo Mitsui dropped 2.23%.

Metal stocks advanced on higher metal prices in the international market. Sumitomo Metal Mining gained 3.49% and Pacific Metals advanced 3.69%. Merrill Lynch upgraded the outlook for both the companies on expectations of higher nickel prices.

Tire manufacturer Bridgestone gained 3.69% after Merrill Lynch initiated coverage in the stock and assigned a buy rating.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,872 and moved into the positive territory on positive cues from Wall Street and higher commodity prices. However, caution ahead of U.S job reports and surprise trade deficit for May saw traders taking profit and moving to sidelines. The index managed to end in the green with a gain of 2.90 points, or 0.07% at 3,875. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 3,877, representing a gain of 3.30 points, or 0.09%.

Light sweet crude for August delivery ended at $69.12, down 19 cents in the Asian session after ending Wednesday's volatile session in New York at $69.31, representing a loss of $0.58 a barrel amid concerns about the recovery.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that the country posted a seasonally adjusted trade deficit of A$556 million in May, double the previous month's trade shortfall. Exports for the month declined 5% or A$1.112 billion to A$20.39 billion in seasonally adjusted terms. On the import side, goods and services declined by 4% percent or A$838 million to A$20.95 billion.

Metal stocks posted gains following rise in metal prices in London Metal Exchange. BHP Billiton gained 1.18%, Rio Tinto edged up 0.29%, and Mincor Resources advanced 2.70%.

Among oil companies, Woodside Petroleum fell 1.86%, and Santos slipped 0.28% and Oil Search lost 1.28%.
Gold stocks advanced following rise in bullion prices. Lihir Gold gained 1.71% and, Newcrest Mining advanced 3.04%. However, Sino Gold ended in negative territory with a loss of 0.81%.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the financial stocks. While ANZ Bank lost 0.74%, Commonwealth Bank Australia fell 1.76%, and Westpac Banking shed 0.51%, National Australia Bank bucked the trend and added 0.74%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened sharply higher at 18,781 on the first day of trading in the third quarter compared to its previous close at 18,379, taking cues from Wall Street and higher commodity prices. However, caution set in ahead of key jobs report in the U.S after traders digested favorable PMI data from mainland China. The index finally ended the session amid volatile trading deep in the red with a loss of 1.09% or 200.68 points, at 18,178.

Profit taking dragged the index down with 30 of the 42 components in the index ending in the negative territory.

Property stocks were the major losers dragging the index down. Swire Pacific plunged 6.59%, Wharf Holdings lost 4.26%, Hang Lung Property fell 4.48% and Henderson Land Development shed 1.91%.

Among resource stocks, Aluminum Corp. of China, or CHALCO, edged down 0.27%, PetroChina slipped 0.35% and CNOOC, the largest offshore oil company in China, lost 1.77%. Oil refiner Sinopec Corp, however, fell 0.77%.

Mixed performance was witnessed among bank stocks. HSBC Holdings lost 2.59%, Hang Seng Bank fell 2.48%, and Bank of East Asia slipped 1.48%. However, BOC Hong Kong gained 2.36%, Bank of China added 0.81% and Bank of Communications edged up 0.46%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended flat with a marginal loss of 0.01% ahead of key jobs report in the U.S. The market opened slightly higher at 1,419 compared to previous close at 1,412 on positive closing on Wall Street. Volatile trading was witnessed throughout the day with the index oscillating around the unchanged line in moderate volume as traders preferred to stay in the sidelines ahead of economic data. The index finally ended nearly flat at 1,411 representing a loss of a 0.18 points, or 0.01%.

Top builder Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. fell 4.46% following reports that its parent company Kumho Asiana Group will sell the builder in an effort to avert a worsening liquidity problem.

Hyundai Motor declined 0.96% despite a positive earnings outlook for the second-quarter. Chip giant Hynix Semiconductor advanced 5.8% on higher chip prices.

Among bank shares, Woori Finance Holdings added 1.87% and Korea Exchange Bank, advanced 3.3%.

In India, the stock market ended in the positive territory with marginal gains amid volatile trading on global cues and reactions to the customary economic survey ahead of the budget announcement on Monday.

The BSE Sensex finished at 14,658 up 13.02 points or 0.09% from its previous close, and the broader Nifty Index gained 7.95 points, or 0.18% to close at 4,349.

Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 52.10 points, or 1.73% to close at 3,060, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index edged up 0.28% or 5.87 points, to close at 2,066, Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 1.35% or 88.56 points, to close at 6,668. However, the Strait Times Index in Singapore lost 31.73 points, or 1.35% to close at 2,321.

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