January 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST
China leads Asia up
Monday, January 28, 2013 China leads Asia up Most Asian markets gained Monday after a corporate-results-driven rally on Wall Street and amid a positive earnings outlook for Chinese firms, but Japanese stocks fell from near three-year highs as investors took profit. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index slid 102.34 points, or 0.9%, to 10,824.31, after Friday’s 300-point-plus gain that lifted the index to near three-year highs. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index tacked on 91.45 points, or 0.4%, to 23,671.88 The Hong Kong-listed shares of China Minsheng and Beijing North Star added 3.1% and 6.9%, respectively. Also supporting the market rally, consumer-products firm Hengan International Group Co. rose 2.5%, China Resources Land Ltd. climbed 2.2%, and heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC advanced 0.9%. On the downside, however, shares of shipping major China Cosco Holdings Co. tumbled 5.1% after warnings of a "significant net loss" for 2012. Over in Tokyo, the market appeared to take a pause after a strong rally over the past several weeks. Still, many exporters extended their gains as the U.S. dollar straddled the 91-yen level during the Tokyo market session. The currency dropped late in Asia, however, and was buying ¥90.74, down from the day’s ¥91.13 high, as well as the ¥90.94 level seen in New York late Friday. Earlier on Monday, the Japanese government said the domestic economy would expand 2.5% in the year beginning April 1, sharply higher from an estimated 1% in the current financial year. Among the gainers, Nissan Motor Co. climbed 2.4% and Sony Corp. soared 9.1%, while Panasonic Corp. added 0.8%. SMK Corp. jumped 15.6% after the electronic-component maker forecast a smaller loss forecast for the year ending March 31. Still, the recent gains for the Japanese market prompted some profit taking. Shares of shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. fell 3.7%, Yamaha Motor Co. lost 1%, and Toshiba Corp. slipped 1.3%. The stocks are still up between 14% and 20% so far in January. Shares of Fanuc Corp. tumbled 7% after the industrial-robot maker cut its full-year profit outlook. Major South Korean exporters suffered further declines amid worries about the impact from stronger Japanese competition as the yen extends its fall. Kia Motors Corp. lost 1.5% and Hyundai Motor Co. shed 1.2%, while heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. dropped 3.2%. CHINA The advances for Chinese shares came amid a relatively positive earnings outlook, even as data released Sunday showed profit at major Chinese industrial enterprises grew by only 5.3% in 2012, nearly one-fifth of the 25.4% jump seen the previous year. The Shanghai CSI 300 raced higher 80.19 points, or 3.1%, to 2,551.86 A 17.3% jump in December profits, fueled by better earnings momentum in the last quarter of the year, helped improve the latest annual figure. Financial shares rallied after the country’s two stock markets announced over the weekend that from Jan. 31, they will allow margin-trading and short-selling in 500 stocks, up from 280 stocks at present. Meanwhile, People’s Bank of China Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng was quoted in Chinese media as saying that qualified institutions that meet lending requirements this year will be subject to relatively lower required reserve ratios, according to Reuters. The move could potentially leave more funds available at those banks for lending purposes. Financial, automobile and construction stocks were among the major gainers on mainland Chinese bourses. Developer Beijing North Star Co. climbed by the day’s 10% limit, and China Minsheng Banking Corp. added 7.2% in Shanghai. In Shenzhen, Guoyuan Securities Co. gained 4.3% and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. advanced 8.8%. Shanghai-traded shares of Dongfeng Automobile Co. soared by the day’s permissible limit of 10% following news that Swedish truck maker Volvo AB is planning a joint venture with the Chinese firm to produce heavy vehicles. Aviation-related stocks also jumped following reports that a home-grown Chinese army-transport aircraft completed its maiden flight over the weekend. China Aerospace Times Electronics Co. rose 6.3% in Shanghai, while AVIC Aircraft Co. surged 10% in Shenzhen. Shares of Huaneng Power International Inc. rose 0.3% in Shanghai and 1.1% in Hong Kong — underperforming the respective broad markets — despite saying that it expects its 2012 profit to spike more than four-fold from the previous year, as the preliminary results were below market expectations. In other markets In Singapore, the Straits Times Index added 4.60 points, or 0.1%, to 3,273.91 Korea’s Kospi Index shed 6.98 points, or 0.4%, to 1,939.71 Taiwan’s Taiex Index improved 42.09 points, or 0.6%, to 7,714.67 The NZX 50 gained 4.62 points, or 0.1%, to 4,204.44 Australian markets were closed for Australia Day
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