December 06, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST
Japan at 7-mo. high
Thursday, December 06, 2012 Japan at 7-mo. high China stocks struggled unsuccessfully Thursday to sustain a second day of gains, while Tokyo markets outperformed as a weaker yen supported exporters and as investors looked toward the nation’s general election later this month. The Nikkei 225 Index in Japan added 76.32 points, or 0.8%, to 9,545.16, to close at its highest level since April 26 In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 21.10 points, or 0.1%, to 22,249.81 Japanese political news appeared better received by the local market, after a Nikkei opinion poll Thursday showed the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party on track to reach a majority in the election on Dec. 16. The LDP and its leader, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are broadly in favor of applying looser monetary policies. The dollar changed hands at ¥82.5, up from ¥82.35 in late North American trading Wednesday. Currency-sensitive exporters picked up on the yen move, with Sony Corp. up 3.4%, Honda Motor Co. improving by 1.6%, and Sharp Corp. surging 10%. Toshiba Corp. rose 0.7%, but Panasonic Corp. slipped 0.5%. The two firms were among six slapped with fines by the European Union on Wednesday for allegedly fixing prices on television and computer-monitor cathode-ray tubes. LG Electronics Inc., down 1.5% in South Korea, was also fined by the European Union, though it planned to appeal the decision. Still, a 1.3% gain for Hyundai Motor Co. helped support the Seoul market. The auto maker’s U.S. unit has exceeded its record 2011 sales, the company said. HSBC Holdings PLC underperformed the Hong Kong market with a 0.5% decline after Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation, that the banking giant might pay a $1.8-billion U.S. fine over money-laundering control lapses. Meanwhile Standard Chartered PLC said that it would likely pay around $330 million U.S. in fines to settle with U.S. authorities over transactions with Iranian clients that may have violated U.S. sanctions. Shares climbed 0.6% in Hong Kong after the emerging-markets-focused U.K. bank also said it was on track to deliver strong results in 2012, even as revenue growth slows. In Australian share action, the relatively high-yielding telecom and banking sectors were lower, paring gains made this week after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its policy interest rate. Widely owned telecom Telstra Corp. edged down 0.2%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia moved lower by 1.2%. CHINA Meanwhile, Chinese equity analysts said the failure of Shanghai to sustain the prior day’s rally was a reflection of investor wariness towards chasing stocks after a nearly three year slide in the stock index. The Shanghai CSI 300 Composite Index dropped 4.28 points, or 0.2%, to 2,203.60 Mainland property companies, extended gains after helping to lead the market higher Wednesday — when investors drew optimism from signs that Chinese leaders will continue to promote supportive economic policies. China Resources Land Ltd. rose 1.7%, while China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. advanced 2%. Property-sector gains extended to the Chinese mainland, with China Vanke Co. up 1.4% in Shenzhen, and Gemdale Corp. up 1.4% in Shanghai. In other markets In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gained 2.28 points, or 0.1%, to 3,078.20 Korea’s Kospi index improved 2.58 points, or 0.1%, to 1,949.62 Taiwan’s Taiex Index slid 25.79 points, or 0.3%, to 7,623.26 New Zealand’s NZX 50 reversed course and gained 16.11 points, or 0.4%, to 4,023.36 Australia’s ASX Index settled 11.05 points, or 0.2%, to 4,509.34
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