Asian markets mixed; Shanghai stocks slip after 10-day rally on profit-taking
March 25 2015 08:15 PM

A trader works at Shanghai Stock Exchange. Shanghai, which surged to a near seven-year high over the past 10 sessions, closed down 0.83% at 3,660.73 points yesterday.


AFP/Tokyo


Shanghai stocks retreated for the first time in 11 sessions on profit-taking yesterday but other Asian equity markets were mixed after a healthy batch of US data revived the prospect of an early interest rate hike.
The euro edged up marginally as investors were cheered by warmer relations between Greece and Germany as eurozone leaders try to hammer out a reformed bailout deal for Athens.
Shanghai, which surged to a near seven-year high over the past 10 sessions, fell 0.83%, or 30.68 points, to 3,660.73.
Hong Kong gained 0.53%, or 128.63 points, to 24,528.23. The index was boosted by a rally in Hutchison Whampoa after it said it had agreed to buy British telecom giant O2 for more than $15bn.
Tokyo reversed morning losses to end up 0.17%, or 32.75 points, at 19,746.20 but Sydney was marginally higher, nudging up 4.23 points to 5,973.32 and Seoul was also flat, edging 1.44 points higher to 2,042.81.
In other markets, Singapore rose 0.17%, or 5.76 points, to 3,419.02; Singapore Telecom gained 0.70% to Sg$4.32, while real estate developer Capitaland eased 1.11% to Sg$$3.55.
Jakarta ended down 0.77%, or 42.16 points, at 5,405.49; lender Bank Central Asia gained 0.52% to 14,625 rupiah, while state miner Aneka Tambang lost 1.69% to 875 rupiah.
Bangkok closed down 0.11%, or 1.65 points, to 1,512.80; supermarket operator Big C Supercenter added 2.26% to 226baht, while telecoms operator AIS lost 1.62% to 243baht.
Wellington fell 0.22%, or 12.76 points, to 5,857.78; Fletcher Building was off 0.80% at NZ$8.67 and Air New Zealand was down 0.36% at NZ$2.75. Taipei slipped 0.66%, or 63.83 points, to 9,667.83; smartphone maker HTC shed 0.7% to Tw$141.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.33% lower at Tw$151.0.
Manila ended slightly higher, adding 7.40 points to 7,836.34; SM Investments was down 1.67% at 884 pesos, Metrobank added 0.36% to 96.70 pesos and Banco de Oro closed 0.83% higher at 121 pesos.
Kuala Lumpur gained 0.28%, or 5.06 points, to close the day at 1,819.10; British American Tobacco Malaysia rose 3.24% to end at 70ringgit and Astro Malaysia Holdings gained 1.89% to end on 3.23 ringgit.
Global investors are keeping a close watch on the US, looking for any signs that could give an idea of when the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates.
Comments last week from the central bank that the economy still had weaknesses cooled expectations it would announce an increase in early summer.
However, markets took note of news from the Labor Department that inflation hit 0.2% in February. That followed three successive months of falling prices, including January’s 0.7% drop, which was the steepest since late 2008 during the financial crisis.
Sales of new single-family homes also surged to a seven-year high in February, accelerating for the third consecutive month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
The figures revived talk of an early rate hike, sending the dollar up and US stocks lower.
In Asian currency trade the dollar bought ¥119.53, compared with ¥119.77 in New York but still up from ¥119.45 earlier Tuesday in Tokyo.
“Traders love a good pullback and as soon as the dollar looks like it’s setting up to resume its bullish trend currency traders will flood the market with trades,” Scott Schuberg, chief executive officer of Rivkin Securities in Sydney, told Bloomberg News. “We could see continued volatility in foreign exchange markets.”


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