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Asian markets mostly up despite downbeat Japan data

/ 11:10 PM August 12, 2013

Passersby walk past an electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index outside a Hong Kong local bank Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. Slower-than-expected economic growth weighed on Japan’s stock market Monday but gains were posted elsewhere in Asia following signs that China’s economy may be picking up. AP PHOTO/VINCENT YU

HONG KONG—Asian markets were mostly up on Monday despite Japan posting lower-than-expected economic growth and US stocks retreating from record peaks last week.

Tokyo stocks ended down 0.70 percent, or 95.76 points, to 13,519.43 after second-quarter GDP figures revealed that Japan’s economic growth had slowed more than analysts expected.

Other Asian markets fared better, buoyed by positive industrial output figures out of China late last week.


Sydney finished up 1.06 percent, or 53.5 points, at 5,108.7 while Seoul closed up 0.22 percent, or 4.12 points, at 1,884.83.

In afternoon trade Chinese markets showed the strongest gains with Hong Kong jumping 2.01 percent and Shanghai 2.03 percent.

On Friday, China reported industrial growth for July reached a five-month high, easing fears that the world’s second-largest economy was heading toward a slowdown.

Industrial production, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines, rose 9.7 percent year on year, well above analyst expectations.

“Positive sentiment from the economic data last week should provide a strong floor while concerns over demand growth in heavyweights such as property developers may cap the potential rise,” Changjiang Securities analyst Wu Bangdong told Dow Jones Newswires.

In contrast, disappointing figures out of Japan on Monday showed economic growth in the world’s third-largest economy slowed in the April-June quarter, raising questions about Tokyo’s bid to revive its economy after years of stagnation.

The cabinet office said Japan’s economy expanded 0.6 percent from the previous quarter, slower than a revised 0.9 percent increase between January and March.

The figures indicate an annualized increase of 2.6 percent, down from the 4.1 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year.


The markets will now look to key US economic figures—including retail sales and industrial output—due out this week, as investors eye clues as to when the US Federal Reserve will start rolling back its huge stimulus drive.

US stocks last week retreated from record peaks and finished lower after a sluggish week that was light on news and trading volume.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1.49 percent at 15,425.51 while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.80 percent to 3,660.11.

The dollar rose against the yen as Japanese officials sounded upbeat on the economy despite the lower-than-expected GDP figures.

In afternoon Tokyo trading, the greenback stood at 96.50 yen, up from 96.24 yen in New York Friday.

The euro bought $1.3325 and 128.28 yen, down slightly from $1.3338 and 128.35 in US markets.

In oil markets, New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was up two cents to $106.05 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade and Brent North Sea crude for September shed one cent to $108.07.

Gold was at $1,326.31 at 1050 GMT compared with $1,309.00 late Friday.

In other markets:

— Wellington fell 0.25 percent, or 11.34 points, to 4,522.30.

Fletcher Building was down 1.67 percent at NZ$8.24, Telecom Corp. off 0.87 percent at NZ$2.28 and Trade Me up 1.2 percent at NZ$4.95.

— Taipei rose 0.60 percent, or 47.24 points, to 7,903.38.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.41 percent lower at Tw$96.0 while HTC was 0.63 percent off to Tw$158.0.

— Kuala Lumpur rose 0.30 percent, or 5.25 points, to 1,784.57.

CIMB ended 1.3 percent higher at 7.96 ringgit while Maxis rose 0.6 percent to 7.27 ringgit.

— Manila rose 0.62 percent, or 39.58 points, to 6,443.81.

Top-traded SM Investments Corp. fell by 0.67 percent to 821 pesos while Ayala Land Inc. rose 2.07 percent to 29.60 pesos.

— Singapore closed up 0.07 percent, or 2.33 points, at 3,232.24. United Overseas Bank was up 0.87 percent to Sg$21.94 and real estate developer Capitaland declined 1.24 percent to Sg$3.19.

— Jakarta closed down 0.93 percent, or 43.00 points, at 4,597.78.

Conglomerate Astra International fell 3.73 percent to 6,450 rupiah and miner Aneka Tambang climbed 10.92 percent to 1,320 rupiah.

— Mumbai rose 0.84 percent, or 157.64 points, to 18,946.98 points. Tata Steel rose 8.29 percent to 236.55 rupees while Sun Pharma rose 6.60 percent to 540.55 rupees.

— Markets in Thailand were closed Monday for a public holiday.—Jerome Taylor

Originally posted: 1:38 pm | Monday, August 12th, 2013

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TAGS: Asian Markets, Business, economy, Growth, Japan
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