RTTNews - The Asian markets ended in negative territory amid concerns about global recovery as traders moved to the sidelines looking for direction.

In the U.S., stocks ended a choppy session in positive territory as a sharp drop in weekly jobless claims below the 600,000 mark for the first time since January was partly offset by larger-than-expected drop in comparable stores sales of chain stores for June. Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, that showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales. Semiconductor, housing, banking and resource stocks managed to post gains while the laggards included the healthcare stocks and commercial real estate stocks.

The Dow managed to end the session up by 4.76 points or 0.1% at 8,183, the Nasdaq rose by 5.38 points or 0.3% to 1,753 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4% at 883.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher at lower at 9,339 compared to its previous close of 9,291 following positive closing in Wall Street despite disappointing chain store sales for June. However, the euphoria was short-lived and market drifted lower amid concerns strengthening local currency might dent exporters' earnings prospects. Lack of direction and thin volumes led the index to move southward amid choppy trading. The index finally ended in negative territory with a minor loss of 3.78 points or 0.04% at 9,287. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues issues declined 1.41 points, or 0.16% percent, to 873.

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended lower by $0.21 at $60.20 in Asian trading, after ending the previous session with a gain of 27 cents at $60.41 a barrel, amid demand concerns.

On the economic front, a report from the Bank of Japan revealed that corporate goods prices in the country dropped by the steepest year-over-year pace on record in June, mainly due to a dip in petroleum and coal prices and the prices of scrap and waste products. The corporate goods price index dipped 6.6% year-on-year in June, after falling a revised 5.5% in the previous month, revised from a 5.4% drop. Economists expected prices to fall 6.4%. Month-on-month, the corporate goods prices were down 0.3% in June, slower than a revised 0.5% decline in the preceding month, but faster than economists' estimates of a 0.1% drop.

Shipping stocks declined following reports that service rates on container ships between North America and Asia suffered the first reduction in three years amid sluggish demand. Kawasaki Kisen fell 3.87%, Mitsui OSK Lines lost 2.87% and Nippon Yusen declined 3.31%.

Among other transportation stocks, All Nippon Airways slumped 5.79%.

Banking stocks ended mixed amid concerns about recovery. Mitsubishi UFJ slipped 0.55%, Mizuho Financial fell 1.94%, and Resona Holdings edged down 0.27%. However, Sumitomo Mitsui bucked the trend and edged up 0.28%.

Oil stocks also ended mixed.. Impex edged down 1.00%, and Nippon Oil slipped 0.21%. Showa Shell managed to end unchanged from previous close.

Among the gainers, Tokyo Electron gained 0.71% after revealing that orders nearly doubled during the last quarter. Brewer Sapporo Holdings surged 4.77% after reporting a 0.4% rise in beer shipments for the first half of 2009.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened slightly higher at 3,764 compared to its previous close at 3,761 on positive cues from Wall Street and continued to trade in positive territory on higher metal prices. Volumes were relatively low amid choppy trading as traders preferred to stay in the sidelines ahead of the weekend. The index stayed above the unchanged line throughout the session and ended with a gain of 29.20 points, or 0.78% at 3,791. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 3,794, representing a gain of 30.8 points, or 0.82%.

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended lower by $0.21 at $60.20 in Asian trading, after ending the previous session with a gain of 27 cents at $60.41 a barrel, amid demand concerns.

Metal stocks advanced following a rebound in metal prices in the international market. BHP Billiton gained 1.11%, Rio Tinto advanced 1.60%, Minara Resources rose 3.40% and Mincor Resources added 2.89%. Macarthur Coal advanced 1.50% and Oz Minerals gained 1.74%.

Gold stocks ended higher. Lihir Gold added 0.70%, Newcrest Mining gained 1.89% and Sino Gold rose 1.89%.

Mixed trend was witnessed among oil stocks. While Santos edged up 0.76%, Oil Search slipped 0.95% and Woodside Petroleum edged down 0.52%.

Financial stocks showed mixed trend. ANZ Bank gained 1.14% Commonwealth Bank Australia added 0.94% and National Australia Bank rose 1.40%. However, Westpac Banking bucked the trend and slipped down by 0.05%.

Packaging company Amcor Ltd shed 1.74% following news that the company is assessing the funding options for the proposed acquisition of packaging assets from Rio Tinto Group.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened slightly higher at 17,800 compared to its previous close at 17,791, following positive closing in Wall Street despite weaker-than-expected comparable same store results from chain stores for June. However, concerns about weak economic fundamentals and doubts about global recovery dragged the indices below the unchanged line amid choppy trading. The index finally ended the session in negative territory with a loss of 82.17 points, or 0.46%, at 17,708.

Retail stocks ended higher. Espirit Holdings surged 5.52% and Li & Fung added 1.62%. Railroad holding company MTR Holdings gained 2.62%.

Resource stocks ended in negative territory. Coal-miner China Shenhua declined 2.43%, Aluminum Corp of China, or CHALCO, dropped 0.86%, PetroChina lost 1.49%, and CNOOC slipped 0.33%.

China-related stocks ended weaker. China Resources lost 1.63%, China Resource Power Holdings fell 1.43% and China Mercantile Holdings slumped 2.47%.

Among telecom stocks, China Unicom lost 1.43%, China Mobile slipped 1.01% and Tencent Holdings fell 1.47%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in negative territory amid worries about global recovery. Foreign institutional investors sold-off blue-chip stocks amid choppy trading characterized by low volumes. The market opened slightly higher at 1,436 compared to previous close at 1,431, following positive closing in Wall Street, but drifted into negative territory on concerns about global recovery. The index ended with a loss of 2.27 points or 0.16% at 1,429.

Market leader Samsung Electronics dropped 0.77% and the world's No. 2 display maker LG Display fell 1.45%.

Hynix Semiconductor, slumped 4.19% following news that memory chip prices have not yet recovered from the recent lows..

Defying the overall trend, leading automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.13% buoyed by its launch Wednesday of the country's first hybrid car.

In India, the stock market ended in the negative territory triggered by late sell-off by institutional investors despite better than expected industrial production numbers.

The BSE Sensex finished at 13,504, down 253.24 points, or 1.84% from its previous close, and e the broader Nifty Index shed 77.05 points, or 1.89% to close at 4,004.

Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped into negative territory with a loss of 9.10 points or 0.29% at 3,114, and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index lost 20.88 points, or 1.00% to close at 2,063. On the other hand, Singapore's Strait Times Index ended flat with a gain of 0.37 points or 0.02% at 2,308 and Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 21.68 points, or 0.32% to close at 6,770.

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