Asian markets tread waterBy Danny McCord
HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed on Thursday, while the euro edged higher, ahead of the end of a US Federal Reserve meeting that dealers increasingly expect will see a new round of stimulus.
Regional firms linked to Apple were also range-bound after the US giant unveiled the iPhone 5 in California, with some analysts giving it a lukewarm response.
Tokyo rose 0.39 percent, or 35.19 points, to 8,995.15, Seoul was flat, edging up 0.66 points to 1,950.69 and Sydney eased 0.50 percent, or 21.9 points, to 4,339.4.
Hong Kong eased 0.14 percent, or 27.76 points, to 20,047.63 and Shanghai was off 0.76 percent, or 16.17 points, at 2,110.38.
The Fed was due to conclude its two-day meeting later Thursday and most economists have predicted it will announce a third round of bond-buying, or quantitative easing (QE3), to spur domestic growth.
Shares were broadly unmoved by the German Constitutional Court ruling in favor of the European Stability Mechanism’s legality on Wednesday as they had already priced in a positive result.
However, the euro continued to benefit from the decision, which removed the final hurdle to opening up the eurozone’s huge bailout fund to help struggling nations such as Spain.
In Europe, the single currency, which posted strong gains Wednesday after the announcement, advanced to $1.2916 against $1.2899 late Wednesday in New York but eased to 100.36 yen from 100.40 yen.
The dollar, which has weakened on the likelihood of a flood of money hitting the market due to the QE3, was trading at 77.68 yen against 77.84 yen.
Apple-related plays were uneven after Wednesday’s iPhone 5 launch.
In South Korea, supplier LG Display and chipmaker SK Hynix were down 1.99 percent and 1.58 percent respectively, while component maker TDK added 3.71 percent in Tokyo.
In Taipei, assembler Hon Hai Precision was flat, while metal casing producer Catcher Technology dropped 2.4 percent, and lens maker Largan Precision lost 0.92 percent.
“Overall, the iPhone 5 was disappointing hardware-wise. The software side seemed a bit promising, but it seems like it isn’t good enough to excite investors,” said Kang Hyun-Gie, an analyst at Solomon Investment & Securities in South Korea.
In Shanghai, dealers were cautious despite the cabinet saying Wednesday it would take various measures, including speeding up payment of tax rebates to exporters, to bolster flagging exports, the economy’s key driver.
The market is also waiting for Beijing to announce monetary easing measures following several months of weak data on growth, trade, spending and investment.
On oil markets, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, was up 10 cents at $97.11 a barrel in the afternoon, while Brent North Sea crude for October was down 64 cents at $115.32 a barrel.
Gold was at $1,730.63 at 1045 GMT compared with $1,743.74 on Wednesday.
In other markets:
– Singapore closed flat, edging up 0.48 points to 3,030.14.
Fraser and Neave surged 4.82 percent to Sg$8.92 while City Developments fell 1.06 percent to Sg$11.18.
– Taipei closed 0.11 percent higher, adding 8.35 points to 7,578.80.
– Manila closed 0.64 percent higher, adding 33.40 points to 5,240.50.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 0.4 percent to 93.75 pesos and Universal Robina put on 1.5 percent to 62.50 pesos.
– Wellington closed 0.10 percent, or 3.68 points, lower at 3,786.04.
– Jakarta was flat, edging down 3.46 points to 4,170.64.
Car maker Astra International fell 0.68 percent to 7,300 rupiah, Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper declined 0.91 percent to 1,090 rupiah, and Indocement dropped 2.24 percent to 19,600 rupiah.
– Kuala Lumpur was up 0.91 percent, adding 14.62 points to 1,628.40.
– Bangkok fell 0.18 percent, or 2.27 points, to 1,257.69.
Coal producer Banpu dropped 1.38 percent to 428 baht, while electricity firm EGCO gained 2.46 percent to 125 baht.
– Mumbai rose 0.12 percent, adding 21.13 points to 18,021.16.
Private low-cost carrier SpiceJet rose 4.59 percent to 33.05 rupees and rival Kingfisher Airways rose 5.36 percent to 10.02 rupees.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=81912