Nikkei closes at 15-year high, Europe stocks down
Japan’s stock benchmark closed above the 20,000-level for the first time in 15 years Wednesday, encouraged by the country’s first monthly trade surplus since 2012. European stocks fell, however, and Wall Street was expected to open lower.
France’s CAC-40 was down 0.6 percent to 5,161.50 and Germany’s DAX dropped 1.1 percent to 11,812.14. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent to 7,020.34. U.S. shares were set to fall, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent and S&P 500 futures off 0.2 percent.
Earnings results were mixed in Europe, with UK retailer Tesco reporting a big 5.7 billion pounds (NT$262.6 billion; US$8.5 billion) loss, though beer maker Heineken and truck maker Volvo posted upbeat figures. Investors were also digesting the European Union’s announcement that it is investigating Russia’s Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, for abusing its dominant market position in Eastern Europe. The move could sour already-weak relations between Europe with Russia, which have imposed tit-for-tat sanctions.
Tokyo’s benchmark index closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years. The Nikkei 225 index added 1.13 percent, or 224.81 points, to finish at 20,133.90. It last closed above the psychologically important level in April 2000.
The last time the Nikkei was at that level Sony’s groundbreaking PlayStation 2 was in stores, the dot-com bubble was collapsing and U.S President Bill Clinton still occupied the White House.
The broader Topix index of all first- section shares climbed 0.80 percent, or 12.91 points, to 1,621.79.
Yahoo Japan rose 2.69 percent to 534.0 yen after its U.S. counterpart said it was exploring a possible sale of its stake in the Japanese business.
Sony closed 0.14 percent lower at 3,675.5 yen. After markets closed, the firm trimmed its loss forecast for the just-ended fiscal year to 126 billion yen from a previous 170 billion yen due to stronger-than-expected sales.
Hong Kong shares closed 0.30 percent higher, tracking a surge in Shanghai and extending its recent rally on hopes for further economyboosting measures by China.
The benchmark Hang Seng I ndex added 83.36 points to 27,933.85 on turnover of HK$187.85 billion ( US$24.24 billion). Shanghai jumped 2.44 percent.
In Hong Kong trade Tencent added 2.26 percent to HK$162.70, HSBC fell 0.56 percent to HK$70.45 and Ping An Insurance added 2.37 percent to HK$112.50.
China Mobile slipped 1.21 percent to HK$114.50, Lenovo gained 1.70 percent to HK$13.16 and PetroChina dipped 0.39 percent to HK$10.14.
In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 104.87 points to 4,398.49 on turnover of 976.9 billion yuan.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on mainland China’s second exchange, gained 2.74 percent, or 59.53 points, to 2,234.46.
But Seoul ended marginally lower, losing 0.90 points to 2,143.89, while Sydney shed 0.36 percent, or 34.84 points, to close at 5,837.50.
Gold fetched US$ 1,199.00 against US$1,198.35 late Tuesday. In other markets: — Singapore fell 0.35 percent, or 12.37 points, to 3,496.24.
DBS Bank declined 0.48 percent to SG$20.88 while real estate developer Capitaland was up 0.27 percent to SG$3.66.
— Kuala Lumpur dropped 8.03 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,854.77.
AMMB Holdings lost 0.92 percent to 6.44 ringgit, while RHB Capital rose 1.86 percent to end at 8.20 ringgit. Malayan Banking slipped 0.11 percent to 9.49 ringgit.
— Bangkok slipped 17.34 points or 1.10 percent to 1,552.01
Energy firm PTT fell 2.26 percent to 346.00 baht, while bank SCB shed 2.54 percent to end at 172.50
— Jakarta lost 0.43 percent, or 23.45 points, to 5,437.12
Palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari fell 1.18 percent to 23,075 rupiah, while state-owned lender Bank Mandiri slipped 1.03 percent to 12,025 rupiah.
— Wellington retreated 0.41 percent, or 23.90 points, to 5,793.61.
Meridan Energy slipped 2.38 percent to NZ$1.845 and Orion Health was down 1.75 percent at NZ$4.50.
— Manila fell 0.18 percent, or 13.91 points, to 7,833.03.
Banco de Oro shed 1.55 percent to 114.60 pesos, SM Prime Holdings was down 1.04 percent at 19.10 pesos and DMCI Holdings was unchanged at 14.46 pesos.
— Mumbai rose 0.77 percent, or 214.09 points, to 27,890.13.
Hindustan Unilever climbed 3.59 percent to 905.10 rupees, while information technology firm Wipro fell 6.01 percent to 544.00 rupees.