Saturday, January 1, 2011

Asia stocks recover after China-led slump

Asian stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday as Shanghai started to regain ground following a weekend interest rate hike and firm oil prices lifted energy stocks.
Tokyo's Nikkei index ended the session up 0.50 percent, or 51.91 points, at 10,344.54, while Shanghai's Composite Index was up 0.19 percent in the afternoon and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.17 percent.
However Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session down 0.18 percent, or 8.7 points, at 4,768.6.
Chinese property developers led the gains in Shanghai, with Poly Real Estate gaining 1.1 percent after a 7.1 percent fall over the previous two sessions since Saturday's rate rise.
However the index was still more than three percent down from the start of the week following the second interest rate hike in less than three months.
"Today's gains are only a technical rebound. The market may stay weak on uncertainties over property tightening measures and the inflation outlook," Zhang Xiang, an analyst at Guodu Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Sydney's stock index, which is particularly sensitive to China's economy, was weighed down by resource giants Rio Tinto and BHP, which fell 1.02 percent and 1.28 percent respectively. However rare earths developer Lynas Corp saw its shares leap after China slashed its export quotas for the lucrative metals.
Chinese energy stocks were providing support in Hong Kong, with CNOOC and PetroChina both up around two percent.
And Japanese energy stocks such as Inpex and Showa Shell Sekiyu gave Tokyo a lift.
Oil prices slipped slightly but the decline was likely to be limited as demand for heating oil is expected to stay firm due to the cold spell gripping the United States and Europe, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, sank eight cents to 91.41 dollars per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for February was down eight cents at 94.30 dollars.
US blue chip stocks hit fresh two-year highs on Tuesday thanks to a strong performance from the energy and utilities sectors, despite disappointing data on US consumer confidence and continued weakness in the housing market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.18 percent, while the broader S&P 500 index was up 0.08 percent and the energy-light NASDAQ slipped 0.16 percent.
The dollar fell back against the euro in Asia following an earlier buy-up of the greenback prompted by a rise in US bond yields following a lacklustre sale of the US five-year notes.
The euro rose to 1.3124 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade against 1.3116 dollars in New York late Tuesday. The single European currency was flat at 108.00 yen.
The dollar fell to 82.27 yen from 82.43 yen.
Gold opened at 1,403.00-1,404.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Tuesday's close of 1,390.00-1,391.00 dollars.

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