Asian stock markets were mostly weaker on Thursday as traders eyed a string of Asian central banks in the rate-hike mode, possibly resulting in higher bond yields and lower property-developer gains in coming seasons. The Hong Kong, Indonesia and Philippines central banks all raised rates in reaction to the Wednesday US Federal Reserve rate increase, although the People’s Bank of China in Beijing did not. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo all finished in the red, while regional exchanges were mixed.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 opened lower, rallied but could not hold ground, finishing down 0.99% as traders took profits from the preceding eight trading days of gains. Weak overnight cues from Wall Street set the tone, as did the Fed rate hike, which raised the specter of rising interest rates in general. US President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday they will work on a trade deal.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 237.05 to 23,796.74, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 176 to 45.
Leading the upside on a down day were marine-products house Nippon Suisan Kaisha (NISUF, 1332:Tokyo), up 3.9%, followed by vehicle-maker Suzuki (SUZKY, 7270:Tokyo), up 2,6%, and then Yamaha Motors (YAMCY, 7272:Tokyo), up 1.8%.
On the downside were electronics-maker Fujikara (5803:Tokyo), off 12.0%. followed by electronics-and-materials house Taiyo Yuden (TYOYY, 6976:Tokyo), off 5.3%.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index also failed to hold its early gains after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority raised its base rate, prompting commercial banks to lift their benchmark rates for the first time in more than a decade. Property issues retreated. Also, fresh economic releases from mainland China showed slowing industrial profit growth.
The broad gauge Hang Seng fell 101.20, or 0.36%, to 27,715.67.
Leading the upside on a down day were Hang Seng Bank (11:HK), up 2.1%, followed by state-conglomerate CITIC (267:HK), up 1.6%, followed by mass-transit operator MTR (66:K), up 1.5%.
On the downside were Macau gaming-house Galaxy Entertainment (27:HK), off 4.5%, followed by developer China Resources Land (1109:HK), off 3.9%.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.54% to 2,791.77.
Sino Industrial profits rose 9.2% in August year-over-year, reported the National Bureau of Statistics. The pace of growth has been slowing, and is down from the 16.2% gain in July.
On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi inclined 0.70%; the Taiwan TWSE rose 0.55%; the Australian ASX 200 declined 0.18%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 0.09%; and the Thai Set inclined 0.17%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was off 0.60%.
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