Asian markets mostly down, dealers await stimulus

Asian markets mostly down

LAHORE: Asian markets mostly fell on Monday as dealers awaited fresh stimulus drives by the central banks of the United States, Europe and China, while Japanese data showed growth slowing.

Tokyo ended flat, edging down 0.07 percent, or 6.29 points, to 8,885.15, Seoul fell 0.72 percent, or 13.96 points, to 1,932.44 but Sydney gained 0.14 percent, or 6.0 points, to close at 4,283.3. In the afternoon Hong Kong fell 0.36 percent while Shanghai was down 0.58 percent. The losses come after global shares enjoyed broad gains last week on expectations the European Central Bank will restart its bond-buying scheme to support under-pressure economies such as Spain and Italy.

There are also hopes the US Federal Reserve will unveil its own drive to pump cash into the economy, while another batch of poor trade figures from China on Friday increased the likelihood Beijing will also intervene to kickstart growth.On Monday morning Japan released data showing its economy grew just 0.3 percent in April-June from the previous quarter, the fourth consecutive rise but a slower pace than before. The figures were significantly weaker than market expectations for a 0.7 percent increase, as exports slowed due to falling global demand, especially from the debt-wracked eurozone.

It also marked a sharp contrast from a brisk 1.3 percent increase in the January-March period. In afternoon forex trade the euro stood at $1.2277 and 96.10 yen, down from $1.2291 and 96.16 yen on Friday in New York.The dollar bought 78.28 yen, from 78.25.“There are increased hopes of further easing in response to the China data on Friday,” said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne. “This ramped up toward the close of the US (on Friday) and has filtered through to Asian trade,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. On Wall Street the Dow ended 0.32 percent higher, the S&P 500 added 0.22 percent and the Nasdaq edged up 0.07 percent.

Oil was up in afternoon trade, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September gaining 48 cents to $93.35 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for September delivery advancing 78 cents to $113.73. Gold was at $1,622.40 at 0640 GMT, from $1,609.15 on Friday. In other markets: Wellington rose 0.48 percent, or 17.17 points, to 3,594.96. Fletcher Building was up 2.2 percent at NZ$6.54 and Telecom Corp climbed 0.6 percent to NZ$2.71. Taipei was flat, edging down 4.82 points to 7,436.3. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.85 percent higher at Tw$82.7 while leading smartphone maker HTC lost 3.23 percent at Tw$240.0. – PT