Asian markets mixed ahead of Japan meeting
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Jan 21 AFP
January 21 2013, 10:51PM
Asian markets have closed mixed, with Tokyo's Nikkei hit by a stronger yen and profit-taking, while dealers await the outcome of a policy meeting at the Bank of Japan.
Wall Street provided a strong lead, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting more than five-year highs on Friday after Republicans proposed a three-month increase to the US debt ceiling in order to agree a budget and long-term spending cuts.
Tokyo's Nikkei, which hit a 33-month high on Friday, fell 1.52 per cent, shedding 165.56 points to 10,747.74. Sydney closed up 0.13 per cent, or 6.3 points, at 4,777.5.
Seoul ended flat, dipping 0.99 points to 1,986.86. Hong Kong was also barely changed, edging down 10.87 points to 23,590.91.
Chinese shares closed up 0.48 per cent, extending Friday's gains after Beijing released data showing the economy grew faster than expected last year. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 11.15 points to 2,328.22 on turnover of 113.0 billion yuan ($A17.41 billion).
Policymakers at Japan's central bank on Monday began a two-day meeting that markets widely expect will see them adopt a two per cent inflation target and unveil more monetary easing.
The yen has tumbled in recent months - sending the stock market surging - since Shinzo Abe promised before December's election that he would urge the bank to be more aggressive in its battle to save the economy.
Abe swept to power in the poll and has since moved to bring BoJ policies into line with his new government's position.
"All eyes are on the Bank of Japan, which should come through to meet expectations for more easing and some kind of inflation target rhetoric," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities, Hiroichi Nishi.
However, with dealers having already priced in such moves by the bank, the yen clawed back some of its recent losses on Monday.
The dollar, which on Friday in New York hit Y90.24 - its highest since June 2010 - bought Y89.50 in early European trade on Monday.
The euro eased to Y119.20 from Y119.96 in New York. It was at $US1.3320, compared with $US1.3317.
US shares closed with a rally on Friday after the Republican offer to increase the nation's borrowing limit while a budget is agreed, providing hope that rival politicians will be able to reach a long-term fiscal agreement.
The government is due to reach its limit around the end of February, while politicians also have to agree on spending cuts that were put off as part of a fiscal cliff deal agreed at the start of the year.
On Wall Street the Dow rose 0.39 per cent and the S&P 500 added 0.34 per cent, with both indexes hitting highs not seen since December 2007. The Nasdaq finished flat.
Oil prices eased. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, shed 48 cents to $95.08 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery dropped 33 cents to $111.56.
Gold was at $US1,688.89 at 1100 GMT (2200 AEDT) compared with $1,689.88 late on Friday.
In other markets:
- Singapore closed up 0.31 per cent, or 10.10 points, at 3,221.32.
DBS Bank gained 0.14 per cent to Sg$14.40 and Fraser and Neave, the subject of a takeover tussle between Thai and Indonesian tycoons, gained 1.67 per cent to Sg$9.74, well above the highest offer of Sg$9.55 a share.
- Taipei eased 0.1 per cent, or 7.95 points, to 7,724.92.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.99 per cent lower and leading integrated circuits design house MediaTek gained 2.43 per cent to Tw$316.5.
- Manila added 0.53 per cent, or 32.49 points, to 6,171.70.
- Wellington rose 0.5 per cent, or 21.00 points, to 4,185.18.
Contact Energy was up 0.58 per cent at NZ$5.19, Telecom added 1.07 per cent to NZ$2.37 and Fletcher Building gained 1.64 per cent to NZ$9.30.
- Jakarta fell 0.57 per cent, or 25.51 points, to 4,439.97.
Palm oil firm Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology rose 3.08 per cent to 6,700 rupiah and cigarette producer HM Sampoerna jumped 6.6 per cent to 63,000 rupiah, while retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa dropped 2.52 per cent to 1,160 rupiah.
- Kuala Lumpur tumbled 2.43 per cent, or 40.81 points, to 1,635.63.
- Bangkok climbed 0.42 per cent, or 6.04 points, to 1,440.48.
Telecoms giant True Corp. soared 8.93 per cent to 6.10 baht while industrial group Loxley surged 7.55 per cent to 5.70 baht.
- Mumbai rose 0.31 per cent or 62.78 points to 20,101.82 points.
Reliance Industries jumped 2.35 per cent to 920.05 rupees, while ITC gained 1.25 per cent to end at 290.65 rupees.