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Asian markets trim losses to end mixed
(AFP) / 11 July 2012
Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday, trimming earlier losses sparked by a decline on Wall Street and concerns about Italy’s finances that stoked fresh fears about the eurozone.
Stocks were also pushed lower by the prospect that Germany may delay the launch of a permanent bailout fund for the eurozone, dealers said. The euro held steady in Asian trade.
Tokyo closed flat, edging down 0.08 percent, or 6.73 points, to end at 8,851.00, while Sydney lost 0.04 percent, or 1.52 points, to finish at 4,096.50 points.
Hong Kong put on 0.12 percent, or 23.51 points, to finish at 19,419.87, while Shanghai ended up 0.51 percent, or 10.94 points, at 2,175.38.
Seoul lost 0.17 percent, or 3.06 points, to close at 1,826.39.
Trade was lacklustre as Asian bourses awaited more key data from China later this week, including second-quarter gross domestic product, as well as the outcome of a two-day Bank of Japan policy meeting, due to end Thursday.
“It is pretty quiet. There are not a lot of people taking big positions, either long or short,” John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
US stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday on concerns over American corporate earnings and a slump in confidence registered by a US small-business survey.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.65 percent, while The S&P 500 fell 0.81 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq slipped 1.00 percent.
In Europe, this week’s deal to help crisis-hit Spain was quickly overshadowed by concerns that Italy, also struggling with enormous debts, may have to tap a regional rescue fund.
At the end of a eurozone meeting in Brussels, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Rome may one day ask for the eurozone rescue fund to intervene in the bond market in order to ease his country’s borrowing costs.
“It is very difficult to say that Italy will never need help from one fund or another and caution compels me not to talk about such things,” Monti said, after previously insisting that Rome did not need such an intervention.
Meanwhile fears grew that the German constitutional court may delay ratification of the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, which is to be used to recapitalise Spanish banks.
The court was expected to rule by the end of the month whether the president should be permitted under constitutional law to sign the legislation, but has hinted at a possible further delay.
Investors were sceptical about the deal to help Spain, also announced in Brussels, which will channel 30 billion euros ($37 billion) this month to its banks and give Madrid an extension to a deadline to cut its public deficit.
“There is a broad framework to deal with the crisis, but uncertainty remains over whether it will work,” said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.
“Participants will likely maintain their wait-and-see approach over the European situation.”
On currency markets, the euro bought $1.2263 and 97.34 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, from $1.2251 and 97.26 yen in New York late Tuesday.
The dollar weakened to 79.35 yen from 79.41 yen amid speculation that the Bank of Japan, which started its policy meeting Wednesday, will usher in further easing measures to power the world’s third-largest economy.
Dealers were also looking to the release of minutes from a US Federal Reserve meeting due Thursday.
On oil markets, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, gained 64 cents to $84.55 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August rose 50 cents to $98.47.
Gold was worth $1,578.20 an ounce at 1100 GMT, compared with $1,593.10 late Tuesday.
On other markets:
Smartphone maker HTC gained 2.62 percent to Tw$313.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed 1.26 percent lower at Tw$78.1.
Telecom Corp. was up 1.0 percent at NZ$2.525, Chorus rose 0.2 percent to NZ$3.27 and Fletcher Building was down 0.60 percent at NZ$6.09.
Ayala Land Inc. dropped 1.9 percent to 20.65 pesos while Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 1.46 percent to 2,706 pesos.
City Developments added 1.34 percent to Sg$11.38 and United Overseas Bank gained 1.19 percent to Sg$19.49.
Sime Darby rose 0.1 percent to 9.95 ringgit and Kuala Lumpur Kepong was up 0.8 percent to 24.30.
Telkom rose 2.4 percent to 8,450 rupiah, Bank Mandiri jumped 1.4 percent to 7,050 rupiah while Bumi Resources fell 1.8 percent to 1,120 rupiah.
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