News Column

Asia closes mixed

May 12, 2014

The positive lead for Asian markets from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, closing at a record high Friday, was offset by renewed concerns over Ukraine.

Pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country declared victory in a secession referendum Sunday, increasing tensions between the West and Moscow.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index settled 60.07 points, or 0.4%, to 14,149.52, as the U.S. dollar came off a session high of 102.05 against the yen.

The dollar was last trading at 101.89, compared with 101.82 late Friday in New York.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong soared 398.62 points, or 1.8%, to 22,261.61

In Tokyo, Olympus was up 4.8% after the company said its operating profit doubled in the recently ended fiscal year. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal also added 1.1% after a positive earnings report.

Mining stocks in Australia were weak after spot iron-ore prices fell to a 20-month low, with Fortescue Metals Group down 1.9% and BHP Billiton down 0.5%.

A number of markets were looking ahead to events on Tuesday. In Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government will release its first federal budget, while China will publish industrial production data and retail sales figures for April.


Shares in China rallied Monday as investors cheered Beijing's new blueprint for capital-market reforms aimed at boosting regulatory transparency and widening market access.

Shanghai's CSI 300 Composite hiked 46.14 points, or 2.2%, to 2,180.05

The State Council, China's cabinet, on Friday unveiled a series of guiding principles for reforming the country's financial markets.

In a broad statement filled with ambitious goals and generalizations, the authorities pledged to establish a "multi-tier" capital market by 2020, encourage mixed corporate ownership and overhaul the nation's malfunctioning system of initial public offerings.

Late last month, China signaled it was ready to reopen the floodgates of new share sales following a two-month pause. Beijing ended a 14-month-long moratorium on IPOs in January, allowing 48 companies to be listed in the first two months of this year.

However, new issues were halted abruptly in March, when authorities stopped granting approvals because of flawed IPO rules and lackluster market conditions.

In other markets;

Taiwan's Taiex Index descended 81.08 points, or 0.9%, to 8,808.61

Korea's Kospi index gained 8.39 points, or 0.4%, to 1,964.94

The Singapore Straits Times Index dipped 29.70 points, or 0.9%, to 3,222.43

New Zealand NZX 50 index recovered 9.75 points, or 0.2%, to 5,162.42

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 subtracted 12.40 points, or 0.2%, to 5,448.44

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Source: Baystreet Foreign Markets Wrap (Canada)

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