Asia stocks dampened by Greek bailout saga
Asian stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday as Greece’s bailout woes and a stagnant Wall Street performance dampened investor sentiment.
Concerns about Greece’s ability to meet debt payments to its bailout creditors have weighed on markets. If Greece defaults on its debt, that may mean a departure from the eurozone. Greece’s prime minister was set to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to discuss his proposal to secure a vital, longoverdue agreement with the country’s bailout lenders. Separately, the European Central Bank meets later Wednesday.
Markets are closely watching for any “rhetoric” that comes out of the European Central Bank, although no change is expected to its new policy of quantitative monetary easing, Mizuho Bank said in a market commentary. “The expected pick-up in growth momentum also reduces the need for extended policy stimulus,” Mizuho said. “Any rhetoric on Greece ... will also be scrutinized.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,109.60 on Tuesday. The index has gained 0.1 percent in the past month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,011.94. The Nasdaq composite fell 6.40 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,076.52.
Tokyo slipped 0.34 percent, or 69.68 points, to 20,473.51 dragged down by a stronger yen. Shanghai closed marginally lower, giving up 0.55 points to 4,909.98.
Sydney shed 0.93 percent, or 52.40 points, to 5,583.60 and Seoul lost 0.74 percent, or 15.48 points, to 2,063.16.
Hong Kong shares rose 0.69 percent Wednesday. The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 190.75 points to close at 27,657.47 on turnover of HK$150.55 billion (US$19.43 billion).
Hong Kong bucked the trend, although yet another company that has seen huge gains recently plunged on Wednesday, with no clear explanation immediately given as to why.
Among other firms in Hong Kong, China Mobile added 1.75 percent to HK$104.60, HSBC rose 0.48 percent to HK$73.90 and CNOOC advanced 1.80 percent to HK$12.42.
However, insurer AIA eased 0.10 percent to HK$50.85 and casino operator Sands China dipped 0.18 percent to HK$28.45.
In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was marginally lower, inching down 0.55 points to 4,909.98, on turnover of 1.0 trillion yuan ($163.5 billion).
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, gained 0.38 percent, or 11.44 points, to 3,041.41 on turnover of 965.8 billion yuan.
Market liquidity was tight as a dozen companies offered new shares for investor subscription on Wednesday, after the market regulator approved 23 initial public offerings in late May.
Pharmaceutical companies were lower. Shanghai-listed Zhejiang Jiuzhou Pharmaceutical fell 5.0 percent to 76.05 yuan while Shenzhenlisted Beijing Beilu Pharmaceutical lost 4.84 percent to 62.32 yuan.
Property developers were higher in Shenzhen. China Vanke added 1.69 percent to 15.05 yuan, while Lander Real Estate surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 35.94 yuan.
Gold fetched US$1,189.20 compared with US$1,190.90 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
— Wellington was flat, edging down 5.04 points to 5,858.71.
Air New Zealand eased 0.85 percent to NZ$2.90 and Fletcher Building slipped 1.97 percent to NZ$8.45.
— Manila added 0.13 percent, or 9.71 points, to close at 7,561.67.
— Bangkok closed up 0.35 percent, or 5.20 points, to 1,482.07.
Bumrungrad Hospital, a popular health tourism provider, gained 3.20 percent to 177.50 baht, while power firm Electricity Generating added 0.99 percent to 152.50 baht.
— Kuala Lumpur, added 0.45 percent, or 7.80 points, to 1,749.17.
Malayan Banking rose 0.22 percent to 9.16 ringgit, Public bank added 0.11 percent to 18.56 ringgit, while Telekom Malaysia percent to 6.98 ringgit.
— Jakarta ended down 1.60 percent, or 83.32 points, at 5,130.50.
Mining equipment company PT United Tractors Tbk gained 4.99 percent to 21,550 rupiah, while Indonesian bank Bank Rakyat Indonesia fell 4.05 percent to 11,250 rupiah.
— Singapore rose 0.27 percent, or 9.09 points, to close at 3,349.84.
Singapore Telecom jumped 2.26 percent to SG$4.07 and oil rig maker Keppel Corp. declined 0.58 percent to SG$8.60.
— Mumbai fell 1.29 percent, or 351.18 points, to end at 26,837.20.
Tata Power fell 6.13 percent to 70.40 rupees, while Coal India gained 0.81 percent 386.70 rupees.