RTTNews - The Asian markets ended in the negative territory on Thursday on concerns about the impact of China's policy to curb excess production in steel and cement industries. Profit taking by investors following recent rally also dragged the indices lower.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended at 10,474, representing a loss of 165.74 points, or 1.56%, while the broader Topix index of all first section stocks declined 11.36 points, or 1.16%, to 964.

Trading companies declined following news that the Chinese Government is considering imposing curbs on overcapacity, especially in the steel and cement industries in the country.

Mitsubishi Corp., declined 2.13%, Mitsui & Co., lost 2.78%, Sumitomo Corp. fell 2.03%, Toyota Tsusho Corp shed 1.34% and Itochu Corp. decreased 3.08%.

Metal stocks also ended weaker. JFE Holdings slumped 3.15%, Kobe Steel fell 2.75%, Nippon Steel lost 1.85%, Sumitomo Metal Industries shed 2.88% and Pacific Metals Co. declined 1.59%.

Shipping stocks ended weaker following China's curb on production. Mitsui OSK Lines fell 2.78%, Kawasaki Kisen declined 1.24% and Nippon Yusen lost 2.44%.

Bank stocks also ended weaker on profit taking. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial shed 0.34%, Mizuho Financial fell 0.88%, Resona Holdings lost 1.40% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial declined 1.96%.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index slipped 0.08% or 3.70 points to close at 4,451, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,458, representing a loss of 6.30 points, or 0.14%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that new capital spending by private sector businesses unexpected rose 3.3% in the second quarter of 2009, contrary to economists' expectation of a 5% contraction.

In a separate report, the Conference Board revealed that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) improved by 0.9% during June. However, the Coincident Index, which measures current economic conditions, declined 0.1% for the month, the Board noted.

James Hardie Industries, biggest seller of home sidings in the U.S, gained 2.52% following news that new home sales in the U.S jumped more than 9% during July.

GPT Group, a property trust, advanced 3.48% after the company reported a wider net loss for the first half of 2009, hurt by writedowns on property trusts. Among other property stocks, StockLand rose 2.43% and Commonwealth Property Fund surged up 6.10%.

Banks advanced following positive economic data on business investment. ANZ Bank gained 1.75%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia edged up 0.29%, National Australia Bank advanced 1.11% and Westpac Banking rose 1.48%.

Metals and mining stocks declined following drop in commodity prices in the international market. BHP Billiton declined 1.31%, Iluka Resources shed 2.41%, Oz Minerals, which reported a loss for the first-half, slumped 6.09% and Rio Tinto lost 3.02%. However, Fortescue Metals and Gindalbie Metals remained unchanged from previous close.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the energy stocks. While Origin Energy slipped 1.31%, Woodside Petroleum gained 1.20%, Santos added 0.65% and Oil Search edged up 0.33%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended in negative territory with a loss of 213.57 points, or 1.04% at 20,243, on concerns about China's policy initiative to curb excess capacity in steel and cement industries. Weak earnings and flat closing in Wall Street also impacted market sentiment.

Fashion retailer Espirit Holdings slumped more than 15% after the company reported a 40% drop in net profit for the second-half, hurt by weak global economy. On the other hand, property developer Wharf Holdings surged 6.54% after the company reported a 44% rise in core earnings and met analysts' mean expectations.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended at 1,599, down 14.79 points, or 0.92% as traders preferred to lock-in gains and move to the sidelines ahead of key economic data in the U.S. Weak trading in other Asian markets and concerns about the impact of China's policy to curb excess capacity in steel and cement industries also impacted market sentiment.

In India, the stocks ended in the positive territory with marginal gains amid short covering on the last day of the expiry of futures and options trading for the month of August. The BSE Sensex gained 11.22 points, or 0.07% to close at 15,781 and the S&P CNX Nifty added 7.35 points or 0.16% to 4,688.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.71% or 21.20 points, to 2,946, Taiwan's Weighted Index declined 28.46 points, or 0.42% to close at 6,691, and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index shed 1.01% or 24.02 points to close at 2,356. However, Singapore's Strait Times Index managed to end in positive territory with a gain of 13.80 points, or 0.53%, at 2,642.

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