Asian stocks pared the week’s gains, with a benchmark measure retreating from its highest close in 19 months as investors mirrored selling by US peers ahead of a three-day weekend in the US for Presidents’ Day tomorrow.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index on Friday lost 0.3 percent to 144.93 as of 5:20pm Hong Kong time, led by consumer discretionary and phone stocks. Eight of 11 groups in the index dropped. The index is up 0.7 percent from last week’s 143.88.
Shares in Taiwan yesterday closed slightly higher on a technical rebound, but the upturn was limited ahead of the nearest technical resistance level at 9,800 points, dealers said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended up 20.16 points, or 0.21 percent, at 9,779.92. The index gained 1.2 percent from last week’s 9,665.59 points.
Shares in Tokyo declined for a second day on Friday as the yen strengthened, with automakers and technology companies the biggest drags on the TOPIX.
“We’re probably seeing some exhaustion as the markets have had a very strong go. We saw a bit of profit-taking in the US overnight as there are no strong positive leads to move the market higher,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors Ltd.
On Wednesday, odds for a US rate hike next month slid to 36 percent from 42 percent, triggering a step back in the S&P 500 Index from a record close reached on optimism the US economy can withstand higher interest rates.
A batch of positive economic data out of Asia this week, driven by improving exports and rising commodity prices, has bolstered shares, although concerns linger that any protectionist threats posed by US President Donald Trump could reverse the recovery.
On Friday, Singapore revised its fourth-quarter GDP growth sharply higher. Earlier in the week, Taiwan raised its annual economic growth target to a three-year high, Indonesia’s exports last month rose at the fastest pace in more than five years and China’s inflation last month picked up by more than expected to near six-year-highs.
Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.6 percent lower, down 0.7 percent for the week. Australian shares fell 0.2 percent at the close, shrinking the week’s gains to 1.5 percent.
Chinese shares slipped after earlier touching a near two-month-high after the securities regulator said that starting Friday, it will relax certain rules on stock index futures trading as restrictions imposed during the 2015 stock market crash are unwound.
The CSI 300 index lost 0.4 percent after gaining as much as 0.5 percent, posting a weekly advance of the same magnitude.
Hong Kong shares dropped 0.7 percent, but still closed up 1.6 percent for the week.
Additional reporting by CNA
PLANNED OUT: The government is lifting sale and export restrictions on 60% of the 20 million masks made daily, but people can still make purchases using their NHI cards Twenty thousand boxes of 50 masks each would be on sale at FamilyMart convenience stores starting tomorrow, Taiwan FamilyMart Co Ltd (全家便利商店) said yesterday. A box of 50 masks would cost NT$249 for those with FamilyMart memberships and NT$299 for those without, with no limits placed on how many boxes a person can buy, the company said. Convenience store chain operator Hi-Life International Co Ltd (萊爾富) said that it would also start selling masks from tomorrow. It has yet to announce details about prices and quantity. Hypermarket chain operator Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said that it would start selling packs of five
Delta Electronics Inc (台達電), the nation’s leading power management solutions provider, has signed an agreement to acquire Canadian software firm Trihedral Engineering Ltd to bolster its smart production efforts, it said on Saturday. Delta said in a statement that it would acquire Trihedral for C$45 million (US$32.68 million) through its 100 percent-owned subsidiary Delta Electronics (Netherlands) BV. Trihedral specializes in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial Internet of Things software, which would strengthen Delta’s hardware offerings in fast-growing areas such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics, it said. “The collection, monitoring and analyzing of data are critical to Delta’s two
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
BOOSTING BUYING: A source said that the idea of pre-ordering vouchers online is being considered, but the preliminary plan is for people to buy them at post offices A stimulus voucher program to be rolled out next month to boost consumption would be available not only to Taiwanese, but also foreign nationals and Chinese spouses who hold residency permits, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The government is fine-tuning the details of the program, which involves issuing vouchers for in-store purchases to revive buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During a radio interview on Monday last week, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that the plan is to allow anyone, regardless of age or income level, to buy NT$3,000 (US$99.89) worth of vouchers for