The stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region are exhibiting a mixed trend once again with investors not evincing any keen interest in picking up stocks and choosing to take a cautious route instead. The cues from Wall Street are not any significantly encouraging. In fact, there are concerns over the possible losses some leading U.S. financial houses may have to take for the March quarter this year.
Aided by strong gains posted by materials, financials, energy and consumer staples stocks, the Australian benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is trading firm at 3,713 with a sharp gain of 45 points.
The KOSPI index of the Korean stock market is up with a loss at 1,355. Shares of leading shipbuilders and automobile manufacturers are in demand, while bank and steel stocks are trading weak.
In Japan, the Nikkei is still struggling in the red with key bank, insurance and brokerage stocks trading weak on earnings concerns. The benchmark is now down 41 points at 8687.
Nomura Holdings Inc. is expected to report a roughly 700 billion yen group net loss for the year ended March 31, the largest loss in the financial giant's history. The stock is down by nearly 4% now.
Hong Kong market's benchmark index Hang Seng is trading firm at 14,959, up 79.74 points over its previous close. In Kuala Lumpur, the KLSE is up 2 points at 969.
Wall Street had some surprises yesterday with AT&T, McDonald's and Yahoo! beating earnings estimates. And there were at least a couple of disappointing report cards as well with Boeing and Morgan Stanley reeling out numbers that fell short of expectations.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hinted that policymakers might be forced to alter their recovery strategies as the global financial crisis drags on. He explained that the revised estimate from the International Monetary Fund for global growth could spark a change in policy. The IMF lowered its 2009 outlook, now predicating a contraction of 1.3 percent for the year compared to its previous estimate of 0.5 percent growth.
We may have to adapt our policies further as conditions evolve, and we need to make sure we provide a scale of support that matches the intensity of the challenge, Geithner said.
While Dow ended lower by 83 points, the Nasdaq composite index edged up marginally. The S&P 500 closed with a small loss.
Crude oil reversed early declines and after trading flat for a major part of the session, ended marginally higher at $48.98 a barrel.
Once again, corporate earnings will be eyed with some big firms including Marriott International, Hershey and UPS reporting today. From the economic front, the weekly jobless claims data and existing home sales numbers will give direction to the market.
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