Asian markets mostly lower as US fears persist

HONG KONG: Another poor performance on Wall Street and global economic fears sent most Asian shares lower early Tuesday in the first full day of trade as several markets returned from a long weekend.In morning trade, Hong Kong fell 0.75 percent and Sydney gave up 0.50 percent while Shanghai lost 0.30 percent and Seoul surrendered 0.96 percent.However, Tokyo was flat by the lunch break.”International markets remain nervous,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.”Last week’s report of much weaker-than-expected jobs growth in the US cemented a view that near-term company earnings growth may not meet previous forecasts,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.Data Friday from the Labor Department showed the US economy added just 54,000 jobs in May, while figures earlier in the week also revealed poor private-sector jobs growth. That came on top of weak manufacturing data.The downbeat news hit the Dow, which sank 0.79 percent Friday and 0.50 percent on Monday.The Nikkei was supported by TEPCO, which rose on an announcement by chief government spokesman Yukio Edano that it should avoid bankruptcy proceedings to ensure compensation to people affected by its crippled nuclear power plant.Japan’s biggest power company dived nearly 28 percent on Monday amid fears of a massive loss for the year to March 2012 and of delisting from the stock market.But the utility, which is reeling from the devastation inflicted on its Fukushima nuclear plant by a March tsunami, was up 3.4 percent at 214 yen in the morning.Edano said the government is trying to avoid court-backed bankruptcy proceedings for TEPCO so the remarks should help to calm the broader market sentiment as well,” Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities, told Dow Jones.

Sydney shares were pressured by unease ahead of the Australian central bank’s latest decision on interest rates Tuesday, with dealers concerned it will announce another hike.On currency markets the dollar edged marginally higher after slipping in New York to below 80 yen because of the US economic concerns.The greenback firmed to 80.13 yen in Tokyo morning trade from 80.07 yen in New York on Monday. The euro traded at $1.4585, up from $1.4572. The European single currency also gained to 116.86 yen from 116.75 yen.New York’s main oil contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, lost 52 cents to $98.49 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for July delivery dipped 41 cents to $114.07 in mid-morning trade.Gold opened in Hong Kong at $1,545.00-$1,546.00 per ounce, up from its Friday close of $1,531.00-$1,532.00. The market was closed on Monday for a public holiday. – Brecorder