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Asian Markets Finish Mixed; Japan Up On Softer Yen, Shanghai Slumps

An image of rising and declining prices
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Asian markets opened the week mixed on Monday, as the Shanghai bear re-emerged on growth worries, but Japan gained on a softer yen. Hong Kong eked out a small gain and India had rally on earnings reports, and hopes of a stronger US dollar.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.68%, as traders embraced a softer yen, always welcome in export-oriented Japan. The market also noted an official report that real wages on the islands grew in March, up 1.4% year on year, the fastest rate in five years, and a sign that the Bank of Japan's stimulus program may be gaining traction.

Sluggish US jobs data, released Friday after the bell in Tokyo, relieved worries that the US Federal Reserve raise interest rates soon, and drive the yen higher against the US dollar. The Japan Finance Minister also suggested that official intervention, to prevent further strengthening of the yen, is possible.

Leading the upside were trading house Sojitz (SZHFF, 2768:Tokyo), up 7.98% on a good earnings release; followed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHVYF, 7011:Tokyo), up 5.29%; and then retailer Seven & I (SVNDY, 3382:Tokyo), up 4.89% after a management change. On the downside were steelmaker JFE Holdings (JFEEF, 5411:Tokyo), off 5.63% and then advanced materials-maker Teijin (TINLY, 3401:Tokyo), off 4.19%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index gained 0.23%, despite a sharp downward movement on Shanghai exchanges in reaction to weak China trade data, and buzz about official sentiments regarding the economy.

Leading the upside were old-line landowner Wharf Holdings (4:HK), up 3.08%; followed by China Mengnui Dairy (2319:HK), up 2.11%; and then Link REIT (823:HK), up 2.06%. On the downside were consumer-products sourcing-house Li & Fung (494:HK), off 1.12%; and then developer China Resources Land (1109:HK), off 1.10%.

Chinese exports fell 1.8% in dollar terms in April year-on-year, reversing the March increase of 11.5%. Moreover, traders noted the Monday issue of official organ People's Daily, which cited an authority that China's economic growth trend would be "L-shaped" rather than "V-shaped." The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) fell 2.79% to 2,832.11.

In Mumbai, the Sensex gained 1.88% in late trading on a solid earnings season, foreign inflows, and the sluggish Friday US jobs report, which allayed fears of US central bank tightening. On other exchanges the Singapore Straits Times index gained 1.29%; the S. Korean Kospi lost 0.45%, the Thai Set decreased 0.25%; the resource-heavy Australian S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.54%, and the Taiwan TWSE lost 0.18%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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