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Asian shares mixed, HSBC weighs on Hong Kong

An investor looks at the stock price monitor at a private securities company in Shanghai, China, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investor concerns lingered over a potential tapering of US monetary stimulus. AP PHOTO

HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed Tuesday as investor concerns lingered over a potential tapering of US monetary stimulus, with disappointing earnings from global banking giant HSBC weighing down Hong Kong stocks.

Tokyo gained 1 percent, or 143.02 points, to 14,401.06 after a late buying surge as the greenback rose against the yen.

But Sydney dropped 0.11 percent, or 5.7 points, to 5,105.6 after Australia’s central bank cut interest rates to a new record low to spur growth as the decades-long mining boom cools down.

Seoul dropped 0.50 percent, or 9.60 points, to 1,906.62 while Shanghai ended up 0.49 percent, or 10.02 points, at 2,060.50.

Hong Kong was down 1.34 percent, or 298.31 points, at 21,923.7, dragged lower by a near five percent tumble for heavyweight HSBC Holdings.

The banking giant on Monday announced a 22 percent rise in half-year net profit on lower costs and falling bad-debt charges, slightly below analysts’ estimates. It warned that slower Chinese growth was affecting its main market Asia.

Mumbai, meanwhile, slid 2.34 percent, or 449.22 points, to 18,733.04 points as the rupee fell to a new lifetime low against the dollar on concerns of foreign fund outflows to the United States.

Market sentiment was also hit by concerns that the Federal Reserve may start trimming its stimulus after the US growth outlook appeared firmer.

The Institute for Supply Management’s July purchasing managers’ index for the services sector showed a healthy jump in activity.

And official data last Friday showed that the US unemployment rate fell to a better-than-expected 7.4 percent in July from 7.6 percent in June

Some analysts said the positive outlook increased the chances the Fed will start scaling back its huge bond-buying programme in coming weeks.

In the eurozone, growth indicators showed that the recession seems to be fading out at last.

A leading indicator of activity, the Markit Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index for July, switched to give a growth reading for the first time for 18 months.

But eurozone retail sales slipped by 0.5 percent in June from the previous month, official data showed Monday.

The greenback fetched 98.48 yen in Asian trade from 98.27 yen in New York on Monday afternoon.

The euro was at $1.3251 from $1.3259, and 130.41 yen from 130.30 yen.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was down four cents at $106.52 a barrel in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for September shed 13 cents to $108.57.

Gold cost $1,293.40 at 0905 GMT compared with $1,310.25 late Monday.

In other markets:

Bangkok added 0.36 percent, or 5.08 points, to 1,429.39.

– Convenience store operator CP All jumped 4.96 percent to 37 baht, while telecoms company True Corporation gained 1.95 percent to 7.85 baht.

– Kuala Lumpur fell 0.50 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,784.64. UEM Sunrise gained 1.8 percent to 2.79 ringgit, DiGi.com added 1.3 percent to 4.67 while RHB Capital lost 3.0 percent to 8.05.

– Singapore closed down 0.52 percent, or 16.90 points, at 3,224.89. Oil rig maker Keppel Corp. was down 0.58 percent to Sg$10.34 and DBS Bank declined 1.78 percent to Sg$17.09.

– Wellington fell 0.30 percent, or 13.98 points, to 4,575.50.

Fletcher Building was down 1.41 percent at NZ$8.42 and Air New Zealand slipped 0.70 percent to NZ$1.42

– Manila was down 1.37 percent, or 88.95 points, at 6,420.78.

Top-traded Bank of the Philippine Islands fell 3.06 percent to 92 pesos while Alliance Global Group Inc. slipped 1.89 percent to 26 pesos.

– Jakarta was closed for a public holiday.—Anuj Chopra

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Tags: Asia , Finance , Forex , gold price , oil prices , stocks

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