Tuesday, 11 December 2012 - 05:42
ASIA MARKETS: Asia Stocks Mostly Rise, But Tokyo, Shanghai Lag
By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) ? Most major Asia stock markets saw modest gains Tuesday, although the Japanese market slipped amid weakness for utility firms, and mainland Chinese shares pulled back after recent gains.
South Korea?s Kospi ?rose 0.1%, Australia?s S&P/ASX 200 index ?advanced 0.3%, New Zealand?s NZX 50 added 0.1% and Singapore?s Straits Times Index ?rose 0.6%.
Chinese trading saw Hong Kong?s Hang Seng Index ?move marginally higher, but the Shanghai Composite Index ?gave up 0.4% after gaining more than 1% on Monday.
Likewise, Japan?s Nikkei Stock Average ?lost 0.5%, after ending the previous session with a modest 0.1% gain, and Taiwan?s Taiex ?fell 0.7%.
?Often, the first few weeks of December are range-bound and messy,? said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital. ?But the fact that markets have held up through the [U.S.] fiscal-cliff negotiations and developments in Europe is a positive sign for future gains.?
Asia?s mixed moves came after U.S. stocks edged higher Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)?and the S&P 500 index (SPX)?hitting their highest levels since the presidential election in early November.
Wall Street?s gains occurred amid signs of progress in talks over the fiscal cliff of billions of dollars in upcoming U.S. tax hikes and spending cuts.
Weekend statements on the negotiations released by the U.S. president and the speaker of the House were identical, ?which we interpret as a positive sign that the two sides are closer to an agreement? said Yelena Shulyatyeva, economist at BNP Paribas.
New York commodity markets saw some strong performances for metal futures on Monday, with copper reaching a seven-week high, while iron-ore prices showed some strength on the global spot market.
Hong-Kong listed commodity-related firms saw some buying interest, with Western Australian iron-ore-project owner Citic Pacific Ltd. ?(CTPCY)?up 2.2%.
On the downside in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. ?(CPCAY)? lost 1% after unions sanctioned industrial action over the Christmas holiday period if the airline won?t reopen talks with flight attendants over wages.
Property stocks were among the worst performers Tuesday in Shanghai, with Gemdale Corp. ?down 1.2%, and Poly Real Estate Group Co. ?lower by 0.8%.
Over in Japan, the volatile utility sector dragged on the market, with Tokyo Electric Power Co. ?(9501.TO)?down 2.9%, Chubu Electric Power Co. ?(9502.TO)?dropping 6.4%, and Kansai Electric Power Co. ?tumbling 7.5%.
Helping sour sentiment toward the sector, the Japanese government concluded late Monday that the Tsuruga nuclear power station operated by the unlisted Japan Atomic Power Co. ? in which many of the major utilities hold ownership stakes ? is likely sitting on an active fault and may be decommissioned, according to a Nikkei news report.
Among the Tokyo gainers, meanwhile, Renesas Electronics Corp. ?(RNECY)?rose 3.3% after the firm confirmed late Monday that it will receive up to 200 billion yen ($2.43 billion) of capital in a deal that will see a government-backed fund emerge with a near-70% stake in the loss-making technology firm.
Sharp Corp. (SHCAF)?gained 2% after a separate Nikkei report that Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp. and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. will lend the firm ?20 billion, while Resona Bank is also mulling a ?20 billion loan.
The lenders? parent firms ? Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. ?(MTU)?and Resona Holdings Inc. ?(8308.TO) ? saw their shares fall 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively.
South Korean trading saw auto giant Hyundai Motor Co. ?(HYMTF)?advance 0.7% but chip heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. (SSNLF)?dropped 1.1% to retreat from an all-time high hit Monday.
Australian shares moved back up to a level not seen since mid October, with miners fuelling the gains after Monday?s metal moves in New York.
Iron-ore extractor Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FSUMY)?climbed 3.7%, diversified mining group BHP Billiton Ltd. ?(BHP) rose 1.3%, and rival Rio Tinto Ltd. ??(RIO)?advanced 0.9%.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 10, 2012 21:42 ET (02:42 GMT)
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