HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed Wednesday following gains on Wall Street, as investors awaited fresh numbers that will give an indication of the health of the US economy.
Tokyo shares closed up 1.32 percent, or 183.16 points, at 14,050.16 due to bargain-hunting in late trading and with a weak yen continuing to support the bourse.
Seoul closed up 0.57 percent, or 10.88 points, at 1,923.91. Sydney closed flat at 5,157.4 after a choppy session in which Commonwealth Bank shares fell despite posting the biggest-ever profit by an Australian bank.
Shanghai finished down 0.29 percent, or 6.02 points, to 2,100.14, reversing earlier gains as worries resurfaced over the domestic economy. Trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange was suspended for the day following disruption caused by Typhoon Utor.
Dealers cited improved economic data in the US, Europe and China for buoying investor sentiment, along with a Japanese media report saying that Tokyo was mulling corporate tax cuts to help offset an expected rise in sales tax.
Investors are closely watching a series of data releases due this week from the United States, the world’s biggest economy. On Tuesday, retail figures showed a lower-than-expected 0.2 percent rise but some analysts pointed to overall strength in non-automobile purchases.
Figures for housing and industrial production are expected later in the week.
Wednesday’s rise in Tokyo mirrored gains in the United States, after a US Federal Reserve official stressed that the Fed’s expected tapering of its massive $85-billion-a-month stimulus program would be cautious.
The American market was also buoyed after corporate raider Carl Icahn revealed he has a large stake in Apple, sending the technology titan 4.8 percent higher.
The billionaire activist took to Twitter to disclose his “large” stake in the company, which he rated “extremely undervalued.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.20 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq—which includes Apple—rose 0.39 percent.
Analysts said investors would look for clues from the Fed when they meet next month.
“Investors will likely take a wait-and-see approach until September when the US Federal Open Market Committee meets and the Japanese government releases its growth strategies and makes decisions on sales and corporate taxes,” Hideyuki Ishiguro, assistant manager of investment strategy at Okasan Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The dollar changed hands at 98.35 yen Wednesday afternoon, rising from 98.22 yen in New York on Tuesday.
The euro stood at $1.3264 and 130.34 yen against $1.3262 and 130.26 yen in New York.
In oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was down 40 cents at $106.39 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade. Brent North Sea crude for September shed 45 cents to $109.37
Gold was at $1,325.43 an ounce at 1100 GMT compared with $1,319.88 late Monday.
In other markets:
— Taipei fell 0.41 percent, or 34.94 points, to 7,951.33. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.41 percent lower at Tw$96.8, while leading integrated circuit design house MediaTek dropped 0.82 percent to Tw$363.0.
— Wellington ended flat, down just 0.03 percent, or 1.23 points, at 4,524.59.
Sky City casino was down 4.15 percent after an 8.1 percent fall in annual net profit and Kathmandu Holdings rose 3.0 percent to NZ$2.74.
— Kuala Lumpur ended flat, dipping 1.36 points to 1,793.73.
UEM Sunrise was 2.1 percent lower at 2.75 ringgit while Bumi Armada gained 2.1 percent to 3.94 ringgit.
— Jakarta gained 1.02 percent, or 47.34 points, to 4,699.73.
Car maker Astra International rose 2.27 percent to 6,750 rupiah, while cigarette maker Gudang Garam added 4.15 percent to 42,700 rupiah.
— Singapore closed up 0.14 percent, or 4.54 points, at 3,248.66.
Singapore Telecom was down 0.26 percent at Sg$3.81 while DBS Bank gained 0.40 percent to Sg$17.39.
— Manila closed up 1.56 percent, or 101.99 points, to 6,656.61.
— Bangkok gained 0.11 percent, or 1.55 points, to 1,460.63.
Supermarket operator Siam Makro jumped 7.14 percent to 690 baht, while Thai Airways International fell 3.23 percent to 21 baht.
— Mumbai rose 0.72 percent, or 137.75 points, to 19,367.59.
Tata Steel climbed 3.59 percent to 249.80 points.—Jerome Taylor
Originally posted at 11:36 am | Wednesday, August 14, 2013