Asia stocks mixed on patchy US eco­nomic data

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & - BY JEN­NIFER O’MA­HONY

Asian stocks ended mixed Thurs­day, with most mar­kets tak­ing a hit af­ter patchy U.S. eco­nomic data fed eco­nomic un­cer­tainty while Tokyo got a boost from a weaker yen.

U.S. data show­ing the ser­vice sec­tor ex­panded to a record high in July strength­ened the case for an ear­lier in­ter­est rate hike from the Fed­eral Re­serve, an­a­lysts said, pro­vid­ing a boost for the dol­lar.

The gains in the green­back pushed down the yen by com­par­i­son — a weaker Ja­panese cur­rency makes ex­porters more com­pet­i­tive — and helped push up Tokyo stocks 0.24 per­cent, or 50.38 points, to close at 20,664.64.

U. S. stocks pushed higher Wed­nes­day day af­ter the In­sti­tute for Sup­ply Man­age­ment said the ser­vice in­dus­try ex­panded 4.3 per­cent in July, but pay­roll firm ADP said the pri­vate sec­tor added 185,000 jobs last month, be­low an­a­lysts’ es­ti­mate of 220,000.

The Bank of Ja­pan be­gan a two­day meet­ing Thurs­day, with all eyes on signs of when pol­i­cy­mak­ers may launch fur­ther eas­ing mea­sures.

Else­where, Seoul lost 0.81 per­cent, or 16.47 points, dragged down by tech­nol­ogy firms and mo­bile car­ri­ers, to 2,013.29.

Shang­hai fell 0.89 per­cent, or 33.03 points, to close at to 3,661.54, while Hong Kong shed 0.57 per­cent, or 138.88 points, to 24,375.28.

Syd­ney slid 1.13 per­cent to close down 63.9 points at 5,610.10 af­ter tak­ing a hit from a jump in un­em­ploy­ment to 6.3 per­cent in July and news ANZ Bank will sell AU$2.5 bil­lion (US$1.8 bil­lion) of shares.

An­a­lysts floated the pos­si­bil­ity of an in­ter­est rate cut fol­low­ing the spike in job­less­ness, which came de­spite a hir­ing surge.

“The mar­ket is down­play­ing stronger jobs growth given the rise in un­em­ploy­ment,” Kieran Davies, chief economist at Bar­clays Plc in Syd­ney, told Bloomberg News.

Aus­tralia’s un­em­ploy­ment rate has edged up over the past year to its high­est in al­most a decade, while wages growth has been weak and busi­ness in­vest­ment out­side the min­ing sec­tor re­mains soft.

Adding to con­cerns over the econ­omy, min­ing gi­ant Rio Tinto af­ter the bell an­nounced its first-half net profit had fallen 82 per­cent, hit by a sup­ply glut and wan­ing Chi­nese de­mand.

In Shang­hai, a sec­ond day of losses af­ter a re­cent mar­ket rout com­pounded fears for the Chi­nese econ­omy.

The Shang­hai Com­pos­ite In­dex has tum­bled nearly 30 per­cent from its high­est point in June over fears for the health of the world’s sec­ond­biggest econ­omy.

In­vestors are still jit­tery de­spite a raft of mea­sures from Bei­jing to prop up the share mar­ket, in­clud­ing re­stric­tions on short selling, the sus­pen­sion of ini­tial public of­fer­ings (IPOs) and a trad­ing halt for some com­pa­nies.

U.S. stocks fin­ished mostly higher Wed­nes­day, but a dis­ap­point­ing earn­ings re­port from Dis­ney weighed on the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age. Traders are now fo­cus­ing on Fri­day’s of­fi­cial U.S. em­ploy­ment fig­ures.

Gold fetched US$1,085.30 an ounce com­pared with US$1,085.72 late Wed­nes­day. In other mar­kets: — Welling­ton closed down 0.17 per­cent, or 9.82 points, at 5,928.69.

Con­tact Energy went against the trend, ris­ing 3.16 per­cent to NZ$5.22, while Fletcher Build­ing dropped 0.13 per­cent to NZ$7.97

— Manila closed down 0.95 per­cent, or 72.60 points, at 7,589.95.

Top- traded Uni­ver­sal Robina fell 2.50 per­cent to 195 pe­sos, SM Prime Hold­ings lost 0.91 per­cent to 21.80 pe­sos while Philip­pine Long Dis­tance Tele­phone was down 2.10 per­cent to 2,800 pe­sos.

— Bangkok fell 0.40 per­cent, or 5.78 points, to 1,430.58.

Tele­coms com­pany Ad­vanced Info Ser­vice dropped 1.64 per­cent to 240.00 baht, while Siam Com­mer­cial Bank slid 1.32 per­cent to 149.50 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur’s main in­dex fell 1.79 per­cent, or 30.92 points, to 1,694.64.

May­bank fell 1.31 per­cent to 9.07 ring­git, Telekom Malaysia was down 0.15 per­cent to 6.62 while Gent­ing Malaysia dropped 2.83 per­cent to 4.12 ring­git.

— Sin­ga­pore rose 0.17 per­cent, or 5.27 points, to 3,196.66.

Real es­tate devel­oper Cap­i­taland gained 1.58 per­cent to SG$3.22 while Sin­ga­pore Tele­com eased 0.25 per­cent to SG$4.06.

— Jakarta was down 0.91 per­cent, or 43.97 points, at 4,806.57.

Dharma Sa­mud­era Fish­ing In­dus­tries gained 12.20 per­cent to 184 ru­piah, while automotive man­u­fac­turer Ni­press fell 8.62 per­cent to 530 ru­piah.

— Mum­bai was up 0.27 per­cent, or 75.05 points, at 28,298.13 points.

En­gi­neer­ing ma­jor Larsen & Toubro gained 2.74 per­cent to 1,827.30 ru­pees, while fast mov­ing con­sumer goods ma­jor ITC fell 1.70 per­cent to 326.05 ru­pees.

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