Asian stocks were mixed on Friday as investors awaited the release of US jobs data, while the Bank of Japan (BOJ) held fire on a fresh round of stimulus.
Investors are eyeing official US payroll data later on Friday for the latest clues about the timing of a US Federal Reserve interest rate hike, widely expected by next month or December.
Tokyo recovered early losses to cap a second weekly advance, ending 0.29 percent, or 60.12 points, higher at 20,724.56.
The TAIEX was flat after easing 7.27 points to 8,442.29 on Friday, down from 8,665.34 on Friday last week. Smartphone giant HTC Corp (宏達電) slumped 10 percent to NT$63, closing at their lowest in more than a decade after it reported weak results, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) fell 0.75 percent to NT$133.
Sydney fell sharply, losing 2.41 percent, or 135.5 points, to 5,474.8 as banking shares weighed heavily on the benchmark S&P/ASX200.
Seoul closed 0.15 percent lower, shedding 3.06 points to finish at 2,010.23.
Hong Kong and China shares rebounded after the previous day’s losses, with the Hang Seng Index closing up 0.73 percent, or 177.19 points, at 24,552.47, while Shanghai ended the day 2.26 percent, or 82.66 points, higher at 3,744.20.
After a two-day meeting, the Bank of Japan on Friday held off fresh easing measures, saying the world’s No. 3 economy was steadily recovering. Analysts widely expect policymakers to act later in the year.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he would consider expanding its record ￥80 trillion (US$640 billion) annual asset-buying scheme if weak oil prices keep holding back inflation.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia’s big four banks tumbled, led by ANZ, whose weaker than expected profits and A$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) capital-raising program to meet tougher regulatory requirements surprised the market. ANZ closed 7.49 percent lower at A$30.14, while shares in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia lost 3.84 percent, Westpac dropped 3.26 percent and National Australia Bank closed down 2.29 percent.
Australia’s financial regulator last month said the nation’s biggest banks had to hold more capital reserves as part of a global move to strengthen the sector after the financial crisis.
In Shanghai, Bloomberg News reported state-backed China Securities Finance Corp (中國證金), tasked with stabilizing the market, is seeking an additional 2 trillion yuan (US$322 billion), which would bring its support funds to 5 trillion yuan.
China’s equities have been on a rollercoaster since Beijing launched a major package to stabilize markets after Shanghai collapsed in mid-June, falling about 30 percent in three weeks after a major rally in the first half of the year.
Stock gains on Friday came ahead of the weekend release of Chinese trade and inflation figures for July, which analysts believe will show weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
In other markets on Friday:
In Wellington, the NZX-50 was down 1.01 percent, or 60.03 points, at 5,868.66.
In Manila, shares closed 0.76 percent, or 57.43 points, lower at 7,532.52.
Mumbai fell 0.22 percent, or 61.74 points to end at 28,236.39 points.
RESTRUCTURING: Taichung and Taoyuan profited most from local firms moving back high-end manufacturing amid the US-China decoupling of trade ties, the ministry said The government’s “Invest in Taiwan” initiative might this year see NT$627.1 billion (US$21.7 billion) of investment pledges realized, with several firms raising stakes and two dropouts due to customer losses, Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said yesterday. Wang made the statement at the monthly meeting of the Third Wednesday Club, a local trade group featuring the top 100 firms of each business sector. Since early last year, the government has launched three programs intended to help local companies grapple with US-China trade rows and the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly through moving production lines back to Taiwan. Thus far, the ministry
JOBS AT RISK? Most Cathay Dragon routes are to be operated by Cathay Pacific or a subsidiary, but it was unclear how Taiwanese workers would be affected Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) yesterday said it is planning new flight services for Taiwan as it announced a corporate restructuring that included the shutdown of its regional subsidiary, Cathay Dragon (國泰港龍), and could lead to job cuts in Taiwan. Cathay Pacific said the shutdown means that the one round-trip service between Taichung and Hong Kong per day and seven round-trip services between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong operated by Cathay Dragon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic would be terminated. “The parent company is planning a new schedule between Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Cathay Pacific assistant manager for corporate communications Moses Hou (侯恩錫)
OVERHEATED MARKET?: The gauge would be designed to provide more reliable information than private-sector data, and help improve policymaking, the council said The National Development Council (NDC) is considering creating a business climate index on Taiwan’s property market, allowing policymakers to better monitor market movements and intervene if necessary, NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday. Kung made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Economic Committee where lawmakers from across party lines voiced concerns about housing price hikes driven by capital repatriation. Kung said that the council is assessing the possibility of creating an index designed to provide more accountable and transparent information than data provided by private-sector market analysts, and could help improve policymaking. The council would compile a report on
STOCK MARKETS TAIEX closes slightly higher The TAIEX closed slightly higher yesterday as market sentiment remained cautious over the Nov. 3 US presidential election. Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was again the anchor stabilizing the broader market, preventing the main board from falling into negative territory at the end of the session, dealers said. The TAIEX closed up 14.88 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,877.25, on turnover of NT$167.982 billion (US$5.81 billion). TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, rose 0.44 percent after fluctuating between NT$451 and NT$456. The semiconductor subindex and the bellwether electronics sector