Asian Stock Markets Decline As Europe Concerns Weigh

   on April 17 2012 4:39 AM
Asian Shares
A man walks past a stock quotation board showing Japanese companies' stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo December 1, 2011. Reuters

Asian stock markets declined for the second day Tuesday despite better-than-expected US retail sales data as concerns over Europe's debt crisis continued to weigh.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei edged down 0.06 percent or 5.93 points to 9,464.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.23 percent or 48.33 points to 20,562.31 and Chinese Shanghai fell 0.94 percent or 22.04 points to 2,334.98 while Indian stocks are trading higher after the central bank rate cut.

The US retail sales rose sharply for the third straight month in March as Americans continued to weather the hike in gasoline prices and splurged on buying new cars and renovating their homes. Sales gained 0.8 percent in March compared to economists' estimation of 0.3 percent gain. Core retail sales, excluding auto, gained 0.8 percent in March compared to 0.9 percent rise in February.

However, renewed concerns over eurozone debt crisis overshadowed the encouraging retail sales report. Spain's cost of borrowing soared to the highest level since before the European Central Bank launched its first liquidity operation. Benchmark 10-year bond yields rose above 6 percent on Monday as doubt spread among bond investors that Europe's fifth-biggest economy will be able to service its expanding debt.

In Japan, Hirose Electric gained 1.48 percent and Kyocera Corp. advanced 0.14 percent after the technology companies' price targets were raised at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Among the exporters, Toyota motor Corp. declined 0.92 percent and Honda Motor declined 1.88 percent while Sony Corp plunged 2.31 percent.

In India, stocks gained after the central bank lowered its main policy rates by half-percentage-point, sending repo rate to 8.00 percent and reverse repo rate to 7.00 percent. The move was bigger than expected rate cut of 25 basis points.

The benchmark BSE Sensex gained 0.52 percent or 89.97 points to 17,240.92. The 50 share NSE Nifty advanced 0.50 percent or 26.20 points to 5,252.40.

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