Asian shares mixed; euro wins respite

 @ibtimes
on February 09 2010 2:24 AM

Asian shares broadly rose on Tuesday, led by Taiwan and South Korea, and the euro staged a small rebound from its recent drubbing, but Japan and Australia fell as investor sentiment remained weak on euro zone fiscal concerns.

Share markets in Britain <.FTSE>, France <.FCHI> and Germany <.GDAXI> were forecast to open as much as 1 percent down, tracking losses on Wall Street on Monday, where the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> ended below 10,000 points.

There's a lot of concerns out there -- the euro zone issues, the chance of limits on U.S. bank risk taking, and worries about Chinese credit tightening, said Norihiro Fujito, general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

The MSCI index of Asian shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 0.4 percent, with IT stocks leading, after an early dip to a five-month low, while shares in Hong Kong held slender gains and Shanghai <.SSEC> stocks slipped in and out of the red.

Analysts said confidence was still flimsy with worries about fiscal problems in Greece, Spain and Portugal likely to limit the scope of any rebounds, and financial shares trailed other sectors after banks led financials lower on Wall Street.

Shares in Seoul rose 1.1 percent <.KS11>, with the KOSPI bouncing from a two-month low to above 1,550 points helped by gains in tech shares such as Samsung Electronics <005930.KS>.

Shanghai stocks <.SSEC> closed nearly half a percent higher with financial shares mostly firmer although a new listing by China First Heavy Industries <601106.SS> continued a string of disappointing market debuts while turnover shrank to an 11-month low.

Taiwan stocks closed 2 percent up <.TWII>, their biggest jump since September, with government funds said to have bought shares, and strong export data boosting tech exporters such as TSMC , the world's largest contract chipmaker.

But it was a different story in Japan, where the Nikkei <.N225> slid 0.2 percent to a two-month closing low, after breaking down through 10,000 points on Monday, as euro zone sovereign debt woes gnawed at investor confidence.

Beaten-down Toyota Motor <7203.T> shares climbed on short-covering as it said it would recall nearly half a million of its flagship Prius and other hybrid cars for braking problems, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group <8316.T> rose after posting its biggest profit in seven quarters. <.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng <.HSI> edged up 0.4 percent, although it is still 2 percent down this month.

Australian stocks also trailed, shedding 0.4 percent <.AXJO>, after a lukewarm trading update from top investment bank Macquarie Group .

Macquarie slid 6 percent after its second-half profit forecast fell short of market estimates and it warned equity capital markets and credit business were not as strong as they were in the first half.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 1 percent and ended below 10,000 for the first time since November. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> shed 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 0.7 percent.

In the currency markets, the euro rose 0.4 percent, although it was still within sight of last week's 8- month low of $1.3585, as traders speculated a rescue for Greece would be organized soon, prompting some covering of short positions.

Greek civil servants were threatening to stage strikes in protest at government austerity measures, highlighting the challenges faced by governments in Athens, Lisbon and Madrid to push through budget cuts and restore confidence in their economies.

Gold prices steadied above $1,060 per ounce while oil sank below $72 a barrel, after rising nearly 1 percent the day before, weighed down by an uncertain demand outlook.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury notes dipped as investors braced for the start of this week's $81 billion quarterly refunding. Benchmark 10-year notes rose about 1 basis point to yield 3.577 percent.

(Editing by Jan Dahinten)

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