Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Asian markets retreat as Samsung drags shares

Bloomberg and AP

Asian stocks retreated from the highest close since October last year as a drop in technology and financial stocks dragged the markets, and disappointing Chinese trade data dented already bleak investor sentiment following US president-elect’s Donald Trump’s news conference.

Samsung Electronics Co slid after prosecutors questioned vice chairman and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee in an influence-peddling probe that has reached the highest levels of government and business in South Korea.

Samsung Electronics slid the most in two months, while Seven & i Holdings Co surged the most in three years after quarterly profit beat estimates.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index on Friday fell less than 0.1 percent as of 4:27pm in Hong Kong, ending a four-day rising streak and capping the weekly gain at 1.6 percent.

Shares in Taiwan retreated on weakness in the bellwether electronics sector as investors dumped contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) due to its cautious outlook for the first half of this year, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 31.35 points, or 0.33 percent, at 9,378.83, slightly higher than last week’s close at 9,372.22.

On Friday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5 percent to 22,937.38 at the close, taking its weekly gain to 1.9 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.8 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slumped 0.8 percent.

“Investors are locking in some of their gains,” Kim Kwie Sjamsudin, head of research at Yuanta Securities Indonesia, said by telephone. “Volatility will remain and emerging markets will continue to be vulnerable with the likelihood of more hawkish policy from the Fed.”

“A correction may have been due following the exuberance of the market reaction to the election of Trump,” said Alex Furber, a sales trader at CMC Markets. “Uncertainty lies ahead and market participants will want to see how the new [US] administration takes shape.”

Chinese customs data showed that the nation’s exports sank 6.1 percent last month from a year earlier.

In November last year, China’s exports eked out a 0.1 percent expansion after shrinking for nine straight months. Imports rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

Additional reporting by CNA

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