By RTT News,
February 25, 2014, 04:17:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday, with Chinese shares tumbling on concerns over growth, while Japanese stocks rallied, taking their leads from solid gains in the U.S. and European markets overnight.
Japan's Nikkei index jumped 214 points or 1.4 percent to 15,052, its highest level since January 29, as the G20's weekend commitment to boost global growth and upbeat German business sentiment data added to optimism over the global economic recovery. The broader Topix index advanced 1.2 percent to 1,234.
Among the prominent gainers, NEC Corp, Nippon Sheet Glass, SoftBank Corp and Okuma Corp jumped 3-5 percent. SoftBank Corp shares rallied 4.1 percent. The telecommunication company is seeking to buy a stake in mobile-messaging service Line Corp. that is controlled by South Korea'sNaver Corp., the Bloomberg reported.
Mobile phone operator KDDI gained 2.9 percent and its rival NTT Docomo added half a percent. Exporters ended mostly higher as the yen held steady against the dollar for a second day ahead of a slew of U.S. economic reports due this week, including gross domestic product data due out Friday. Panasonic, Mazda Motor, Kyocera, Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, Sharp Corp, Fanuc, Canon and Nikon rose between half a percent and 1.5 percent.
In economic releases, an index measuring corporate service prices in Japan rose 0.8 percent in January from a year earlier, the Bank of Japan said, coming in at 96.3. That was shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.2 percent following the downwardly revised gain of 1.1 percent in December.
Chinese shares fell sharply, dragged down by property developers, on concerns that tighter lending policies may curb economic growth. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell a little over 2 percent to finish at 2,034.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that China's home price rises eased for the first time in 14 months in January, although prices remain elevated in main cities. Meanwhile, in its latest move to tighten liquidity, the People's Bank of China on Tuesday drained another 100 billion yuan ($16.4 billion) from the money markets via bond repurchases.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.3 percent to 22,317 on concerns about China's economic growth. Shares of HSBC Holdings declined 2.7 percent after its full-year profit missed estimates.
Australian shares reversed early gains to end marginally lower. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.1 percent to finish at 5,434, snapping a seven-day winning streak. Miners paced the declines as iron ore prices declined on fears that reduced lending to the property sector will curb growth in the world's second-largest economy. Rio Tinto dropped 1.3 percent, rival BHP Billiton shed 0.7 percent and Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 2.5 percent.
Among the major banks, ANZ edged up marginally, Commonwealth slipped 0.1 percent and Westpac lost half a percent, while NAB added 0.2 percent.
Atlas Iron fell 2.3 percent after the company unveiled plans to ramp up production at its part-owned Mt Webber iron ore mine. QBE Insurance Group rallied 5.3 percent. The insurer swung to a steep annual loss but said most of its businesses outside North America are performing solidly. Ramsay Health Care shares soared 6.7 percent. The country's largest private hospital operator boosted its full-year profit guidance after posting a better-than-forecast $171.6m half-year underlying profit.
Seoul shares rose notably to hit a one-month high after South Korean President Park Geun-hye unveiled a three-year blueprint to break the protracted cycle of low growth and change the fundamentals of the economy. The benchmark Kospi average rose 0.8 percent to 1,965.
Heavyweight Samsung Electronics closed half a percent higher after launching its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone armed with a fingerprint reader and a bigger screen. Naver Corp. shares jumped 7.5 percent despite the company denying reports that it was in talks to sell a stake in its mobile-messaging service.
New Zealand shares slipped marginally as investors paused for breath after the previous session's strong gains. The benchmark NZX-50 index slid 0.04 percent to 4,968, with 13 of its components retreating. Fletcher Building, the nation's largest construction company, fell 1.5 percent from a near three-month high, while Telecom shares tumbled 2.5 percent. Chorus led the gainers, climbing 4.9 percent to $1.49, while Summerset Group Holdings rallied 3.3 percent after doubling its annual profit to a record.
Online auction site Trade Me Group jumped 2.7 percent despite the company revising down its earnings outlook. On the economic front, inflation will average 2.03 percent in the coming year, rising from 1.94 percent in the December quarter but just above the mid-point of the Reserve Bank's target range, as economic growth picks up pace and interest rates rise, the central bank said in its quarterly forecast.
Elsewhere, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down 1.2 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was marginally lower, while the key benchmark indexes in India, Malaysia and Taiwan were up less than half a percent each.
U.S. stocks rose overnight, with the S&P 500 hitting a record intraday high and the Nasdaq reaching a 14-year high, as healthcare stocks jumped on a smaller-than-forecast cut in Medicare reimbursement rates and investors welcomed the proposed merger between wireless component makers RF Micro Devices and TriQuint Semiconductor. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 0.6 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7 percent.
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