Asian shares mixed ahead of Bernanke testimony | Inquirer Business

Asian shares mixed ahead of Bernanke testimony

/ 11:47 PM July 17, 2013

A man watches an electronic stock indicator in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday as investors remained cautious ahead of testimony from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. AP PHOTO/AZUSA UCHIKURA

HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors focus on what US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has to say about the future of the bank’s stimulus scheme during a congressional hearing later in the day.

Profit-taking kept stocks in check following two days of broad gains, while Japan’s Nikkei ended higher on late buying as the dollar rose against the yen following a sell-off in New York.


Tokyo added 0.11 percent, or 15.92 points, to 14,615.04, while Seoul rose 1.13 percent, or 21.13 points, to 1,887.49 and Hong Kong gained 0.28 percent, or 59.49 points, to 21,371.87.

But Shanghai ended 1.00 percent lower, giving up 20.80 points to 2,044.92, while Sydney was flat, edging down 4.3 points to 4,981.7.


Bernanke will give his semi-annual testimony over two days in Washington from Wednesday, and investors will be looking for hints about the Fed’s view of the US economy and its plans on when to wind down its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying scheme.

Also in the sights is a meeting of G20 finance ministers on Thursday and Friday in Moscow, where officials are expected to discuss the Fed’s stimulus, while Japan will hold upper house elections at the weekend.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is tipped to win the majority of the 121 seats up for grabs, giving him control of both chambers and the ability to push on with his aggressive monetary policy drive.

Wall Street provided a negative lead as profit-taking set in after the Dow and S&P 500 broke to new record highs for three consecutive sessions.

The Dow fell 0.21 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 0.37 percent. The Nasdaq shed 0.25 percent.

On forex markets the dollar sank in New York as traders tentatively await Bernanke’s comments, ending Tuesday at 99.04 yen.

But the unit made a comeback in Asia on Wednesday, climbing to 99.72 yen in the afternoon, while the euro bought $1.3140 and 131.01 yen against $1.3164 and 130.43 yen.


Oil prices eased, with New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, down 60 cents at $105.40 a barrel, while the new September contract for Brent North Sea crude shed 52 cents to $107.62.

Gold fetched $1,286.30 per ounce at 1030 GMT, compared with $1,291.21 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

— Wellington was flat, adding 2.43 points to 4,578.97.

Chorus rose 0.73 percent to NZ$2.76, Telecom was off 2.34 percent at NZ$2.30 and Fletcher Building eased 0.58 percent to NZ$8.52.

— Manila shed 0.13 percent, or 8.83 points, to 6,574.72.

Metropolitan Bank shed 2.92 percent to end at 109.70 pesos and Philippine Long Distance Telephone dropped 0.48 percent to 2,886 pesos, while San Miguel rose 1.49 percent to 85 pesos.

— Taipei was also barely moved, edging down 1.16 points to 8,258.95. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. rose 0.93 percent to Tw$109.0 while Hon Hai fell 1.28 percent to Tw$77.4.

— Bangkok added 0.46 percent, or 6.63 points, to 1,458.08.

Siam Cement rose 1.35 percent to 450 baht, while Thai Airways International lost 1.36 percent to 21.70 baht.

— Jakarta ended up 0.75 percent, or 34.96 points, at 4,679.00.

Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper rose 5.26 percent to 1,200 rupiah, while telecom firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia fell 1.74 percent to 11,300 rupiah.

— Singapore closed down 0.52 percent, or 16.63 points, at 3,208.33.

DBS Bank was down 0.24 percent at Sg$16.40 and vehicle distributor Jardine Cycle and Carriage was down 1.69 percent to Sg$40.85.

— Mumbai rose 0.49 percent, or 97.50 points, to 19,948.73 points.

Unilever’s Indian subsidiary Hindustan Unilever jumped 9.86 percent to 684.75 rupees while IT outsourcer Wipro rose 2.96 percent to 386.45 rupees.

— Kuala Lumpur gained 0.13 percent, or 2.27 points, to 1,788.66.

Felda Global Ventures Holdings added 0.2 percent to 4.51 ringgit, while Maxis rose 1.8 percent to 6.92. Telekom Malaysia dipped 1.3 percent to 5.29 ringgit.—Danny McCord

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