RTTNews - Mixed trading was witnessed across the markets in the Asia-Pacific region taking cues from the U.S. markets. Weaker than expected housing data in the U.S., weak GDP numbers in Japan which were not as worse as projected to be, and higher metal and oil prices weighed in the market.
While the markets in China, Hong Kong, and Indonesia ended in the negative territory, markets in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan closed in positive territory with gains ranging between 0.22% and 0.72% from previous close.
U.S. stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, partly in reaction to the release of a report by the Commerce Department that showed an unexpected decline in the housing starts for April. The Dow closed lower by 29.23 points or 0.34% at 8475, while the S&P 500 closed down by 1.58 points at 908.13. On the other hand, technology-weighted Nasdaq was able to hold on to thin gains, finishing up by 2.18 points or 0.13% at 1735, ahead of the release of Hewlett Packard's earnings.
In Asian trading, the July futures rose $0.19 at $60.29 a barrel in electronic trading. Meanwhile, the June futures expired at $59.65, up $0.62 a barrel, in New York trading on Tuesday.
In Tokyo, The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened higher at 9,372 compared to previous close at 9,290, moved up to 9,399 in early trading. However, the market found resistance around the 9,400 level and gave up part of its gains following the release of GDP numbers. Buying interest in the market helped the indices stay in the green throughout the session. The Nikkei 225 Index ended the session with a gain of 54.35 points, or 0.59% at 9,345, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues added 6.54 points, or 0.74% percent, to 886.30.
The Cabinet Office, in a preliminary report, said that Japan's gross domestic product contracted by a record 4% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the previous three months. Economists had forecast a 4.4% GDP decline following a revised 3.8% quarterly decline in Q4 of 2008. On an annualized basis, GDP was down 15.2%, beating expectations for a 16.1% fall after the revised 14.4% contraction in the previous three months. Imports dropped 15% quarter-over-quarter, while exports were down 26% .
Higher oil and metal prices and the strengthening of the dollar against the yen also supported sentiment.
Among major exporters, Casio Computers advanced 4.21%, Sony Corp edged up 0.20% and Canon added 0.61%. Automakers ended weak on concerns about weaker demand and shrinking exports. Toyota Motor lost 0.54% and Honda Motor declined 0.74%.
Banking stocks extended their gains. Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's biggest bank, added 0.32%, Sumitomo Mitsui advanced 0.79%, Mizuho Financial gained 0.88% and Resona Holdings rose 0.63%.
Oil-related stocks advanced on higher oil prices. Inpex rose 1.72%, Nippon Oil added 1.23% and Showa Shell gained 0.92%.
In Australia, the broader All-Ordinaries index ended up 8.3 points or 0.22% at 3,809, while the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 7.3 points or 0.19% to close at 3,825.
Consumer sentiment in Australia deteriorated by 4.3 percent in May from April, according to survey results released Wednesday by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute. The group's May Consumer Sentiment Index declined 3.9 points to a seasonally adjusted 88.8 compared to April's reading of 92.7.
Another report released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics revealed that Wages, excluding bonuses, increased by 0.8 percent during the first three months of 2009. The Bureau said wages were also 4.2 percent higher than they were one year earlier. Both figures were in line with the forecasts of most economists.
Mining stocks led the gains on higher copper prices in the international market. Index leader BHP Billiton advanced 1.00% and its rival, Rio Tinto gained 1.60%. The Australian newspaper , citing unidentified sources, reported that Rio Tinto is looking to replace its US$7.2 billion convertible bond issue to Chinalco with a capital raising underwritten by the Chinese firm.
Macquarie Airports announced that it has agreed to tender its holding in Japan Airport Terminal into JAT's buyback tender offer. To reflect both the removal of JAT from proportionate earnings and the expected sustainable earnings of MAp's businesses this year, Map believes that it is appropriate to amend the guidance previously provided for 2009 from 27.00 cents per stapled security to 21.00 cents per stapled security. The stock of Macquarie Airports surged 4.79%.
Among the Banking stocks, ANZ Bank slipped 0.13%, and Westpac Banking lost 1.84%. However, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 0.14%, Macquarie Group added 0.18%, and National Australia Bank edged up 0.05%.
Gold related stocks also advanced. Lihir Gold added 3.06%, Sino Gold Mining gained 1.69% and New Crest Mining soared 6%.
Retail stocks ended mixed on profit taking. David Jones slipped 0.27%, and Harvey Norman shed 1.29%, but Wesfarmers added 0.77%, and Woolworths gained 0.95%.
Energy stocks also ended mixed despite crude oil futures advancing in New York last night. Woodside Petroleum added 0.97% and Santos edged up 0.27%, but Oil Search slipped 2.27%.
Building materials group James Hardie Industries N.V. reported an operating loss for the fourth quarter that narrowed from the year-ago period. Excluding items, net operating profit for the quarter dropped 57% from the year-ago period. Net sales for the quarter decreased 23% to US$241.3 million from US$312.9 million in the corresponding period last year. The stock advanced 2.51%.
The market in Hong Kong, having opened weaker at 17,486 on weak US cues, continued to trade in the negative territory and ended down with a loss of 68.19 points, or 0.39% at 17,476.
Mixed trading was witnessed among Property related stocks. While New World Development lost 2.64% and Hang Lung Properties declined 2.29%, Henderson Land advanced 1.61%, Sino Land gained 0.08%, and SHK Properties added 0.42%.
Financials ended mixed on profit taking. HSBC Holdings edged up 0.33%, while Hang Seng Bank declined 2.93%. Other major banks also ended lower on profit taking.
Insurance stocks ended lower. Ping An declined 1.13% and China Life lost 0.53%.
In Seoul, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended at 1,438, up 7.49 points, or 0.52%.
Financials ended mixed. While KB Financial Group lost 1.67%, Shinhan Financial advanced 1.07% and Woori Finance added 0.41%.
Oil-related stocks also ended mixed. SK Holdings gained 2.55%, but S-Oil edged down 0.66%.
Among the automakers, Hyundai Motor gained 0.75% and Ssangyang Motor advanced 2.04% but, Kia Motor declined 4.44%.
In India, the benchmark Sensex ended lower by 260.69 points, or 1.89%, at 14,041.34, while the NSE Index slipped 1.36% or 58.75 points, to close at 4,259.70.
Among the other markets, China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 25.27 points or 0.94% to 2,651, Singapore's Strait Times Index gained 8.88 points, or 0.39% to 2,269, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index added 0.29 points or 0.02% to 1,500, and Taiwan's Weighted Index advanced 48.03 points or 0.72% to 6,704.
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