Asian stocks on Friday closed mostly higher, but gains were limited with regional benchmarks struggling to break through current resistance levels despite another record finish by Wall Street.
In most markets the trading band was narrow and followed a pattern set earlier in the week after equities struck a series of record and multi-year highs amid a rush of capital from outside the region.
Tumbling oil prices and tame US inflation data, additional evidence that the US Federal Reserve might cut interest rates, only sparked limited Asian interest with investors tending to focus on issues closer to home.
This was particularly the case in Japan, where lingering concerns over the local economic outlook resulted in Tokyo falling 0.45 percent while profit takers moved into Mumbai, where the benchmark fell 0.57 percent.
Slight gains were registered in Hong Kong and a modest rise in Singapore, enough for both markets to again close at record highs. Manila and Kuala Lumpur notched up their best closing levels in nine years.
Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok and Wellington ended the day little change, while Jakarta was up 0.20 percent, Kuala Lumpur by 0.31 percent and Sydney by 0.50 percent while Shanghai was the standout with a 1.55 percent gain.
Share prices closed little changed in active trading, after moving largely sideways, as investors refrain from pushing share prices higher on the back of Wall Street's gains overnight and a further pull-back in oil prices.
The TAIEX closed 2.06 points higher at 7,259.54 on turnover of NT$105.36 billion (US$3.2 billion).
"As had been apparent over the past three sessions, investors would rather pocket the differences while they still could," said Oliver Fang, a Yuanta Core Pacific Securities (
Against the backdrop of a generally bullish Wall Street, local shares managed to post moderate gains but could not convince investors to help attain a more dramatic upswing, he said.
As things stand, further rangebound consolidation appears likely in the near term as Wall Street is also unlikely to continue setting new highs persistently, he added.
Share prices fell 0.45 percent, hovering just above the key 16,000-point mark, on lingering concerns about the outlook for the economy.
Dealers said that the Japanese market erased early gains that were triggered by Wall Street's latest record performance as dealers opted to book profits for the third straight session.
While the Bank of Japan said on Thursday that the economy is expanding, some dealers asked if the central bank's reluctance to raise interest rates indicated it had doubts.
The NIKKEI-225 fell 72.14 points to finish at 16,091.73. Volume rose to 1.71 billion shares from 1.53 billion on Thursday.
Hideyuki Suzuki, a strategist at SBI Securities, said the market's recent bearish performance reflected a cooling of investor sentiment.
"Domestic demand is not that strong, meaning that companies that have subsidiaries overseas can fare well, but those that don't will suffer," he said.
"Overseas investors may have turned their gaze back to their home markets because their markets have been on a bull run," he added.
Hideo Mizutani, chief strategist at Sieg Securities, said that Japanese share prices failed to maintain a rally buoyed by another record-breaking performance on Wall Street.
"Japan's share prices showed a knee-jerk reaction to gains on US stocks market but the market here soon lost momentum amid lingering worries about the Japanese economy," Mizutani said.
Shares closed slightly higher as foreign investors unloaded IT stocks to take profits, with Wall Street's continued gains providing support.
The KOSPI index closed up 1.47 points at 1,412.22.
Share prices closed slightly higher, sending the index deeper into record territory, as local banking stocks and China commodity counters drew strong interest.
Dealers said major local banks rose on expectations that increasing activity in the mortgage lending market will help boost their revenue and this was enough to push the benchmark further into record territory.
Select China commodity counters drew buying interest on expectations of windfall gains in this sector in the event of an appreciation of the yuan.
The Hang Seng Index closed up 28.64 points or 0.15 percent at 19,182.71.
Share prices closed sharply higher, adding 1.55 percent on strong follow-through buying with blue chips and airlines snapped up in particular.
The Shanghai A-share Index jumped 31.67 points to 2,072.75 on turnover and the Shenzhen A-share Index was up 7.35 points or 1.59 percent at 469.0. The Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, closed up 30.25 points or 1.56 percent at 1,971.79. Turnover was 27.54 billion yuan.
"Strong follow-through buying in heavyweight blue chips boosted the key index to a new high, and market sentiment remains upbeat after recent consecutive sessions of gains," said Shen Jun, an analyst at Guosen Securities.
Share prices closed 0.50 percent higher fuelled by a record high on Wall Street, while lower overnight metal prices sparked selling in the local resources.
Dealers said they foresaw further problems for the resources sector, which had led the market's recent pull-back, if technology stocks continued their global rise.
The SP/ASX 200 rose 27.1 points to 5,419.7. Turnover was 1.36 billion shares.
Share prices broke through the key 2,800 point level to close at a record high for a fourth straight day amid buying in select blue chips and tech stocks.
Dealers said the market was also aided by a fresh Wall Street peak struck after the release of tame US inflation data indicating the United States Federal Reserve may move to cut interest rates sooner rather than later.
The Straits Times Index closed 14.73 points higher at 2,813.18.
Share prices closed slightly higher as profit-taking limited blue chip gains such as in gaming group Genting and Resorts.
The composite index gained 3.19 points at 1,040.79.
Share prices closed 0.11 percent higher amid falling oil prices, as small-cap domestic-oriented stocks boosted the volume.
The composite index gained 0.78 points to 733.92 with 122 stocks unchanged.
Share prices closed up 0.20 percent as banks gained after the government divested its remaining stake in PT Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII).
The composite index closed up 3.284 points at 1,672.108.
Share prices fell 0.57 percent, snapping six straight days of gain as investors locked-in profits.
Dealers said the markets quickly shed early morning gains and slid from a fresh all-time peak on Friday of 13,678.04 for the SENSEX, as banking, automobile and software stocks fell.
The 30-share SENSEX index fell 76.41 points or 0.57 percent to 13,429.48, after having risen nearly 3.5 percent in the past week and by almost 43 percent since the start of the year as foreign funds pumped in US$7.86 billion into Indian equities.
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