Asian shares mixed, tech firms follow US peers down | Inquirer Business
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Asian shares mixed, tech firms follow US peers down

/ 12:06 AM April 09, 2014

A man walks by an electronic stock price indicator in Tokyo on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Japan’s central bank refrained from expanding its stimulus and declines in tech stocks weighed on prices. AP PHOTO/EUGENE HOSHIKO

HONG KONG—Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday following another heavy sell-off on Wall Street, with technology stocks taking a beating, while a stronger yen added to downward pressure on Japan’s Nikkei.

Eyes are also on a news conference by the head of the Bank of Japan after its latest policy meeting, its first since a controversial tax rise took effect at the start of the month.

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Tokyo sank 1.36 percent, or 201.97 points, to 14,606.88 and Sydney was down 0.06 percent, or 3.1 points, at 5,410.6, while Seoul added 0.17 percent, or 3.33 points, to close at 1,993.03.

Hong Kong added 0.98 percent, or 219.82 points, to 22,596.97 while Shanghai surged 1.92 percent, or 39.45 points, to 2,098.28 on hopes Beijing will soon unveil measures to kick start China’s economy after last week’s mini-stimulus.

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All three main indexes in New York suffered a third straight session of losses on Monday as big-name tech firms, which had helped last year’s rally, suffered sell-offs on concerns they are overvalued. Among the US losers Monday were Apple, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in the United States, said there was also “a little anxiety before earnings” season kicks off this week.

On Wall Street the Dow sank 1.02 percent, the S&P 500 slipped 1.08 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 1.16 percent.

Yen extends gains against dollar

Asian tech stocks followed their US peers lower, with Sony off 1.36 percent and Sharp losing 3.68 percent in Tokyo.

In Seoul Samsung was off 0.21 percent, with added downward pressure coming from its forecast of a decline in operating profit for the second straight quarter year on year.

The yen edged up against the dollar as traders looked for safer bets, while it was given an extra boost by data showing Japan had posted its first current account surplus in five months in February.

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The dollar was at 102.67 yen in the afternoon in Tokyo, against 103.09 yen late in New York.

The euro bought 141.21 yen and $1.3752, compared with 141.65 yen and $1.3740.

There was little movement after the Bank of Japan said it would hold off announcing any fresh monetary easing measures, as expected.

Investors are awaiting comments by governor Haruhiko Kuroda at a news conference later in the day to see what he has to say about the economy after the 8.0 percent sales tax came into force on April 1.

On oil markets New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose 92 cents to $101.36 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for May gained 56 cents to $106.38.

Gold fetched $1,312.13 an ounce at 1015 GMT, up from $1,300.91 late Monday.

In other markets

— Jakarta ended up 0.01 percent, or 0.37 points, at 4,921.40.

Bank Negara Indonesia gained 0.97 percent to 5,200 rupiah, while pulp and paper firm Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper lost 2.08 percent at 1,410 rupiah.

— Singapore climbed 0.33 percent, or 10.50 points, to close at 3,204.09.

Oil rig maker Keppel Corp. gained 0.09 percent to Sg$10.93 and United Overseas Bank also gained 1.44 percent to Sg$21.86.

— Bangkok lost 0.91 percent, or 12.67 points, to close at 1,379.34.

Coal producer Banpu added 0.92 percent, or 0.25 baht, to close at 27.50 baht, while Bangkok Bank closed unchanged at 186.50 baht.

— Kuala Lumpur dipped, 0.57 percent, or 10.59 points, to close at 1,852.31.

Public Bank lost 1.87 percent to 19.90 ringgit, Malayan Banking shed 0.41 percent to 9.74, while Tenaga Nasional added 1.03 percent to 11.80 ringgit.

— Taipei rose 0.13 percent, or 11.81 points, to 8,888.25.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. gained 1.28 percent to Tw$119.0 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.12 percent higher at Tw$86.4.

— Wellington fell 0.87 percent, or 44.28 points, to 5,031.56.

Telecom was off 0.20 percent at NZ$2.52 and Contact Energy fell 0.76 percent to N$5.24.

— Manila fell 0.41 percent, or 34.50 points, to close at 6,579.90.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. dropped 0.33 percent to 604 pesos and its property arm Ayala Land shed 1.28 percent to 30.90 pesos.

— Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.

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