Asian Markets Decline On Overnight Wall Street Drop; Soft Oils
Asian markets Friday generally declined, off for the first time since the central bank U.S. Federal Reserve Board announced its quarter-point rate hike Wednesday. In Japan, investors expressed disappointment at the size of an announced Bank of Japan stimulus package, and in mainland China a rise in home prices was shrugged off. Continuing soft oil prices undermined confidence in the strength of the global economy.
The Nikkei 225 Friday lost 1.90%, as traders first embraced surprise stimulus announcement by the central bank, the Bank of Japan, but then decided the new package was limited. The island central bank reported it would boost its buying of stock exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from 3 trillion yen annually to 3.3 trillion yen.
The broad measure Nikkei 225 spiked 500 points in afternoon trading on the BoJ action, but then sloped down to close off 366.76 at 18,9986.80. Losing issues outnumbered gainers 210 to 11. Leading the upside on a down day were steel-maker JFE Holdings (JFEEF, 5411:Tokyo), up 2.37%; followed by marine-products purveyor Nippon Suisan Kaisha (NISUF, 1332:Tokyo), up 1.08%; and then Takeda Pharmaceuticals (TKPHF, 4502:Tokyo), up 0.96%. On the downside were ball-bearing maker Minebea (MNBEY, 6479:Tokyo), off 5.04%; and then silicon wafer-maker Sumco (SUMCF, 3436:Tokyo), off 4.73%.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index Friday fell 0.53%, as traders mulled the overnight drop on Wall Street, and same-day bearishness in regional exchanges. The broad gauge Hang Seng dropped 116.50 to 21,755.56, as losers outnumbered gainers 38 to 11.
Leading the upside on a down day were Sino Land (83:HK), up 2.29%; followed by old-line conglomerate CK Hutchinson (1:HK), up 1.78%; and then consumer-products sourcing-outfit Li & Fung (494:HK), up 1.21%. On the downside were noodle-maker Tingyi Cayman (322:HK), off 4.32%; and then sanitary napkin-maker Hengan International (1044:HK), off 3.39%.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SHCOMP), traded sideways, off 0.03% to 3,578.96, despite an official report that Sino house prices rose 0.9% YOY in November, a positive sign in struggling real-estate markets. The Chinese yuan traded up after nine straight declines against the U.S. dollar.
In other exchanges, the Korean Kospi dropped 0.13%; the Taiwan market edged down 0.75% possibly on Sino tensions after a U.S. arms deal was reported; the Indian Sensex fell 1.11% after four days of gains; and in Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.09%.
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