Thursday,24 April,2014

Japan weighed by Wall St.

Asian markets were mostly lower on Thursday, as Wall Street’s overnight slide weighed on regional sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 141.28 points, or 1%, to 14,404.99, while the yen was a touch lower against the U.S. dollar, last at ¥102.46 per dollar, compared with ¥102.53 late Wednesday in New York.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index recovered 53.16 points, or 0.2%, to 22,562.80, after a 1% fall on Wednesday that followed data showing further contraction in China’s manufacturing sector.

South Korea’s Kospi fell after data showed that the country’s first-quarter gross domestic product had grown 0.9% quarter-on-quarter, slightly weaker than an expected 1% increase, because of shrinking facilities investments.

The absence of any significant catalysts kept many markets close to the break-even mark, leaving investors looking ahead for cues. In Japan, investors were waiting for the Japanese fiscal year earnings season to ramp up. Also in focus was U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan, which could lead to an announcement relating to the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.

In currencies, the New Zealand dollar bounced higher after the country’s central bank raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 3% as the country’s economic expansion gains momentum and inflationary pressures increase. The currency was last at $0.8632 U.S., compared with $0.8585 U.S. at its close on Wednesday.

In other markets;

The Shanghai CSI 300 slid 4.19 points, or 0.2%, to 2,190.47.

Taiwan’s Taiex Index subtracted 11.47 points, or 0.1%, to 8.945.45

Singapore’s Straits Times Index boosted 25.92 points, or 0.8%, to 3,283.93

Korea’s Kospi Index sank 2.03 points, or 0.1%, to 1,998.34

New Zealand NZX 50 index strengthened 11.04 points, or 0.2%, to 5,153.97

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 improved 13.24 points, or 0.2%, to 5,531.



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