Sun, Dec 12, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Asia ends mixed as China-related stocks edge down

Agencies, with staff writer

Asian stocks fluctuated this week as Japanese and Australian benchmark indices rose after reports showed better-than-estimated economic growth or employment, while China-related companies fell on concern policy makers will raise interest rates to slow inflation.

“Markets tend to go hot and cold on expectations that Chinese authorities will take more steps in their tightening campaign,” said Nader Naeimi, a Sydney-based strategist at AMP Capital Investors Ltd, which manages about US$93 billion and is a unit of AMP Ltd, Australia’s second-largest asset manager. “There is pressure on interest rates in China, but I don’t think there’s any reason they would want to crush growth.”

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent to 133.09 this week, holding near a one-month high. It jumped 3.5 percent last week after three straight weekly drops in which it lost 4.4 percent. The index has rallied about 22 percent from this year’s low on May 25.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.3 percent this week. GDP grew at an annualized 4.5 percent rate in the three months ended Sept. 30, faster than the 3.9 percent reported last month, the Cabinet Office said on Thursday. The median forecast of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 4.1 percent expansion.

“Investors already knew that higher capital spending in the July-September period would boost Japan’s GDP, but they took it as a good direction once the result was disclosed,” said Masaru Hamasaki, who helps oversee about US$17 billion as chief strategist at Toyota Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.7 percent this week, China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell less than 0.1 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI rose 1.5 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.9 percent.

Chinese developers and banks declined this week after the statistics bureau brought forward the release of economic data, including inflation, by two days to Friday. The move signals an interest-rate increase may be imminent, said Glenn Maguire, chief economist for Asia at Paris-based Societe Generale SA.

Taiwan’s TAIEX rose 1.1 percent for the week after closing down 0.39 percent on Friday, dragged down by construction shares on fears that the government would impose a new tax to curb speculation in the property market, dealers said.

The weighted index fell 35.01 points on Friday to close at 8,718.83, on turnover of NT$143.34 billion (US$4.75 billion).

In other markets on Friday:

Manila fell 1.75 percent, or 73.67 points, from Thursday to 4,135.75.

Wellington closed 0.23 percent, or 7.64 points, lower from Thursday at 3,272.92.

Mumbai jumped 1.39 percent, or 266.53 points, from Thursday to 19,508.89, buoyed by a better-than-expected production data.

India’s industrial output accelerated at its fastest rate in three months in October to 10.8 percent, data showed on Friday, spurred by robust manufacturing as demand rose during the religious festival season.

Banking and telecoms stocks which lagged in previous days, rose.

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