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HONG KONG, Jan 29 AFP

January 29 2013, 11:04PM

Most Asian markets have closed higher as traders await key economic data out of the US and China and the start of the corporate earnings season.

Tokyo climbed 0.39 per cent, or 42.41 points, to 10,866.72 on Tuesday and Sydney jumped 1.11 per cent as dealers returned from a long weekend, the index adding 53.8 points to end at 4,889.0.

Seoul added 0.84 per cent, or 16.25 points, to 1,955.96, while Hong Kong ended flat, edging down 16.71 points to 23,655.17.

Shanghai rose 0.53 per cent, or 12.47 points, to 2,358.98, extending strong gains from the previous session as confidence in the mainland economy grows stronger.

However, there was a certain amount of caution as the corporate earning season begins this week in Japan.

Eyes are on the US as the Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, followed by the release on Friday of closely watched jobs data, with investors hoping for new clues on the state of the economy.

Friday will also see the release of Chinese manufacturing data, which is likely to add to recent evidence that the world's number two economy has shaken off a malaise that weighed on growth for most of last year.

Japanese shares climbed while the yen remained under pressure as the euro and US dollar continue to pick up against the unit.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the US dollar bought Y90.62 against Y90.82 in New York on Monday afternoon, while the euro fetched Y121.73, compared with Y122.2. The single currency was at $US1.3431, from $US1.3454.

Despite a better than expected rise in orders for durable goods - a key pointer to consumer confidence - the lead from Wall Street was anaemic as profit-takers moved in following a strong finish last week.

The Dow eased 0.1 per cent and the S&P 500 fell 0.18 per cent after the two indexes on Friday hit levels not seen since late 2007.

However, the Nasdaq rose 0.15 per cent, boosted by a slight rebound in Apple.

Mumbai slipped 0.56 per cent, or 112.45 points, to 19,990.9 despite the Reserve Bank of India cutting interest rates for the first time in nine months and reducing the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve.

Investors had already factored in the widely expected 0.25 percentage point cut, and uncertainty about future rate reductions weighed on stocks, analysts said.

Oil was up in Asia, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, gaining 33 cents to $US96.77 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for March up 12 cents to $US113.60.

Gold was at $US1,661.10 at 1110 GMT (2210 AEDT) compared with $US1,655.09 late on Monday.

In other markets:

- Taipei rose 1.13 per cent, or 87.33 points, to 7,802.00.

TSMC rose 1.71 per cent to Tw$101.0 while HTC was 1.43 per cent higher at Tw$284.5.

- Manila rose 0.68 per cent, or 42.31 points, to a record high 6,234.73.

Ayala gained 0.91 per cent to 555 pesos while Megaworld rose 3.12 per cent to 3.30 pesos.

- Wellington fell 0.1 per cent, or 4.15 points, to 4,200.29.

Telecom was down 1.47 per cent at NZ$2.35, Contact Energy was steady at NZ$5.15 and Fletcher Building rose 0.54 per cent to NZ$9.26.

- Singapore lost 0.43 per cent, or 14.16 points, to 3,259.75.

Singapore Telecommunications gained 0.58 per cent to Sg$3.47 while Singapore Airlines shed 0.45 per cent to Sg$11.00.

- Kuala Lumpur ended flat, edging up 0.21 points to 1,637.34.

CIMB Group Holdings added 0.4 per cent to 7.24 ringgit, while Gamuda rose 3.3 per cent to 3.76. Astro Malaysia Holdings fell 1.1 per cent to 2.83 ringgit.

- Jakarta rose 0.5 per cent, or 22.09 points, to 4,439,03.

State-controlled miner Aneka Tambang rose 5.30 per cent to 1,390 rupiah and retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa gained 2.63 per cent to 1,170 rupiah, while palm oil firm Astra Agro Lestari slid 1.3 per cent to 19,000 rupiah.

- Bangkok gained 0.46 per cent, or 6.72 points, to 1,478.77.

Coal producer Banpu slipped 0.26 per cent to 389.00 baht while PTT added 1.21 per cent to 335.00 baht.

By Danny McCord