Asian markets fell Wednesday as the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not offer any hint of monetary easing measures to rejuvenate the faltering economic growth.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite fell 0.16 percent, or 3.45 points to 2157.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.71 percent or 137.97 points to 19317.36. Major losers were China Resources Land Ltd (2.40 percent) and HSBC Holdings PLC (2.28 percent).
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.21 percent or 18.70 points to 8773.70. Among major gainers were Olympus Corp (5.83 percent), Konami Corp (3.13 percent) and TOTO Ltd (2.33 percent).
South Korea’s KOSPI Composite Index fell 0.59 percent or 10.81 points to 1811.15. Shares of LG Electronics Inc dropped 1.19 percent and shares of Hyundai Motor Co declined 0.67 percent.
India's BSE Sensex marginally fell 0.07 percent or 12.09 points to 17093.21. Major losers were Tata Motors Ltd (1.73 percent), Hero MotoCorp Ltd (1.28 percent) and IDBI Bank Ltd (0.86 percent).
The U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his semi-annual report to the Congress Tuesday. He acknowledged that the incoming economic data had been generally disappointing, but offered no hint that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was close to launching a third round of large-scale asset purchases.
Market players, hoping for an announcement of the monetary stimulus policy by the U.S. FEd in the face of intensifying pressures on the economy, were disappointed by Bernanke’s congressional testimony. Last month, Bernanke had underlined that the Fed remained prepared to take action as needed to protect the U.S. financial system in the event of financial stresses escalating.
Market sentiment plunged further after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's statement that the slackening economic growth will result in rising job losses. The data released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that China’s gross domestic product grew at 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a earlier year, which is the slowest in three years.