Asian shares mixed af­ter Wall Street gains

The Pak Banker - - International -

SHANG­HAI: World stock mar­kets were mostly higher Thurs­day, track­ing the overnight rally on Wall Street spurred by news that the U.S. econ­omy fared bet­ter than ex­pected in the third quar­ter.

Trad­ing was light in Asia ahead of Christ­mas hol­i­days and with Ja­panese fi­nan­cial mar­kets closed for the em­peror's birth­day.

"Trad­ing is di­rec­tion­less since there are not very many in­cen­tives. Turnover is very quiet," said Sa­muel Chua, an an­a­lyst at KGI Se­cu­ri­ties in Hong Kong. "Peo­ple are still concerned about pos­si­ble tight­en­ing of mon­e­tary pol­icy," he said.

In early Euro­pean trade, France's CAC-40 edged 0.04 per­cent lower to 3,918.04, but Bri­tain's FTSE 100 gained 0.2 per­cent to 5,992.96 and Ger­many's DAX added 0.06 per­cent to 7,072.17.

Wall Street was set to ex­tend Wed­nes­day's gains, with Dow fu­tures up by 7 points at 11,502.00. Broader S&P fu­tures gained 0.2 points to 1,254.70.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng in­dex slipped 0.6 per­cent to 22,902.97, as wor­ries over a pos­si­ble in­ter­est rate hike in China cast a pall on the up­beat over­seas news.

But most re­gional mar­kets mir­rored Wall Street's surge af­ter the Com­merce Depart­ment re­ported that U.S. gross do­mes­tic prod­uct rose at an an­nual rate of 2.6 per­cent be­tween July and Septem­ber, up from its ear­lier es­ti­mate of 2.5 per­cent. Aus­tralia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 per­cent to 4,888.20 as nat­u­ral re­source com­pa­nies ad­vanced.

New Zealand shares rose, adding 0.3 per­cent to 3,364.14 de­spite data show­ing that the coun­try's econ­omy con­tracted in the third quar­ter. Gross do­mes­tic prod­uct un­ex­pect­edly de­clined 0.2 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous quar­ter.

Bench­marks in Singapore, Tai­wan, Thai­land and the Philip­pines also gained.

Mean­while, South Korea's Kospi opened higher but fell back later in the morn­ing, los­ing 0.3 per­cent by the close, at 2,037.50. The Shang­hai Com­pos­ite in­dex lost 0.8 per­cent to 2,855.20.

"Well, just as it hap­pens ev­ery yearend, most in­vestors feel un­cer­tain about fu­ture eco­nomic poli­cies, so they would rather wait and see. Also, trad­ing was af­fected by ru­mors of an in­ter­est rate hike," said Liu Kan, an an­a­lyst at Guoyuan Se­cu­ri­ties in Shang­hai.

In New York Wed­nes­day, ma­jor stock in­dexes edged up to two-year highs, with the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age gain­ing 26.33 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to close at 11,559.49. The broader S&P 500 in­dex rose 4.24, or 0.3 per­cent, to 1,258.84. Both in­dexes closed at their high­est lev­els since July 2008.

The Nas­daq com­pos­ite in­dex gained 3.87, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,671.48. It was the high­est close for the Nas­daq since Dec. 28, 2007.

In cur­ren­cies, the dol­lar fell to 82.92 yen from 83.55 yen late Wed­nes­day. The euro rose to $1.3109 from $1.3107.

Bench­mark oil for Fe­bru­ary de­liv­ery rose 22 cents to 90.70 in elec­tronic trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. The con­tract rose 66 cents to set­tle at $90.48 a bar­rel on Wed­nes­day as the U.S. govern­ment re­ported a drop in the nation's crude stock­piles. -Ap

AM­RIT­SAR: In­dian men dressed as Santa Claus dis­trib­ute free Onions on the road­side in Am­rit­sar on De­cem­ber 23, 2010. The In­dian govern­ment, fac­ing mount­ing pub­lic anger over soar­ing onion costs, scrapped tax on im­ports of the veg­etable to try to rein in prices of the sta­ple food. -Afp

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