RTTNews - Asian markets are exhibiting a mixed trend on Wednesday despite a positive close on Wall Street overnight. Some of the markets in the region have drifted lower after a bright start with a section of investors staying wary of going on a buying spree, and indulging in selling at higher levels instead, due largely to doubts over the pace of economic recovery.
In the Australian market, energy and industrials stocks are mostly trading firm. Materials stocks are trading mixed. Not much buying is seen in the financials space today. A few stocks from consumer discretionary, consumer staples and telecommunications sectors are trading notably higher.
The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200, which rose to 4,437 earlier in the session, is currently trading at 4,405, up 23.3 points, or 0.5%, over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up by 30.1 points, or 0.7%, at 4,416.
Qantas Airways Ltd announced an 88% plunge in full year net profit to A$117 million and said it aims to cut costs by A$1.5 billion over the next three years. The airline said it won't be listing its frequent flyer program on the Australian stock exchange after the program helped keep the company afloat in 2008/09. The smaller-than-expected decline in revenues and signs of a pick-up in passenger volumes buoyed up the Qantas stock today. The stock is currently up by about 5%.
Drug maker CSL has reported a 63.3% jump in annual profit and forecast further earnings growth this year, as it starts to meet orders for swine flu vaccine. The CSL stock is currently trading lower by 1.6%.
Bank of Queensland Ltd, plans to raise A$340 million in new equity as it positions itself to take advantage of emerging growth opportunities. The fully underwritten offer of new shares includes a A$143 million placement to institutions and its largest shareholder BRED Banque Populaire. It also includes a A$197 million one-for-nine non-renounceable entitlement offer, with A$85 million set aside for institutions and A$112 million for retail investors. The placement and entitlement offers will be conducted at the same price of $10 per share. The stock is on Trading Halt today.
Anti-flu drug developer Biota Holdings Ltd has posted an annual net profit of A$38.2, helped by royalties from its flagship product, Relenza, and says its outlook its strong. The company posted a net profit of A$38.2 million for the year to June 30, compared to a loss of A$6.48 million for the prior financial year after Relenza royalties of A$45 million. The pharmaceuticals stock is off the day's high but is still trading in positive territory with a sharp 1.8% gain.
The Reject Shop Ltd has posted a 13.9% rise in annual net profit on strong sales, saying it expects another testing year as volatile conditions continue. The company announced a full year net profit of A$19.0 million for 52 weeks to June 28, 2009, up 13.9% on its prior 53-week financial year, or up 21.8% per cent on a comparable 52-week basis. The stock opened on a firm note, but has drifted down into the red subsequently and is down with a loss of 2.5% now.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher today, supported by firm equity markets and the prospect of rising interest rates. In early trading this morning, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8267/68, up from Tuesday's close of US$0.8263/66. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8271 to the U.S. dollar.
In Tokyo, after a bright spell in the positive territory, stocks drifted lower on selling pressure and the Japanese benchmark index Nikkei was down 24.5 points or 0.24% at 10,207 at the end of the morning session today.
Though automobile stocks edged higher on rating upgrades, stocks from most other sectors were seen struggling for support as investors turned cautious following a somewhat disappointing report on the U.S. housing front.
Among automobile stocks, Toyota Motor traded firm following an announcement from the company that it had received 10,000 orders for the Lexus HS250h hybrid sedan by Sunday, 20 times its monthly sales goal of 500 units.
Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor are also trading with notable gains, while Suzuki Motor and Mitsubishi Motors are up modestly.
Bank stocks were mostly trading weak this morning. Foods and textiles exhibited a mixed trend. Non-ferrous metals stocks SUMCO, Sumitomo Metal Mining, Fujikura and Nippon Light Metal surged higher. Select machinery and electric machinery stocks moved up sharply.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 94-yen range early this morning, up slightly from its levels overnight in New York. In early trading, the dollar fetched 94.85-90 yen against Tuesday's close of 94.63-73 yen in New York and 95.09-11 yen in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 94.60 to the U.S. dollar.
The South Korean market is quite choppy today with investors treading a cautious path due to a lack of significant triggers. The KOSPI, which drifted down into the red to 1,549 after an early surge to 1,562, is currently up by around 4 points or 0.26% at 1,554.
Even as automobile and select technology stocks trade firm with notable gains, stocks from banking, steel, energy and shipbuilding sectors are seen struggling to hold at higher levels today.
Automobile stocks Kia Motor and Hyundai Motor are up by 1.5% and 3%, respectively. Ssangyong Motor is currently trading higher by about 8%.
Among technology stocks, Hynix Semiconductor is up by as much as 3.7%, Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are trading modestly higher, while LG Electronics is up by about 1%.
In the banking space, Korea Exchange Bank, Woori Finance and Shinhan Financial are trading lower, while KB Financial is bucking the trend and trading with a modest gain. Oil stocks are exhibiting weakness. KEPCO, however, is trading with a near 2% gain.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore are currently trading in negative territory while Taiwan is up modestly. The New Zealand market is trading flat. Stock markets across the region had finished on a mixed note Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks saw notable strength on Tuesday, partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session amid some encouraging earnings reports. A report from the Commerce Department showed an unexpected decrease in housing starts in the month of July.
The Dow closed up by 82.07 points, or 0.9%, at 9,217, the Nasdaq advanced by 25.08 points, or 1.3%, to 1,956 and the S&P 500 rose by 9.94 points, or 1%, to 990.
Major European markets all ended the day higher, with the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rising by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively, while the German DAX index finished up by 0.7%.
Crude oil moved higher with recovering global equities improving the prospects for energy demand. Light sweet crude for September delivery rose to US$69.19, up US$2.44 on the session. Prices hit as high as US$69.58 after earlier hitting a low of US$66.11.
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