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Asian Markets Update

FOREX_Asian-Market-Update_FXPIG

Most Asia-Pacific stock markets chalked up modest gains early Friday, following fresh records on major U.S. indexes, stemming two days of declines in the region.

But a third straight big drop in Samsung and ongoing strength in the yen kept the main stock indexes in South Korea and Japan lower.

Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.34%   was recently down 0.1% as Samsung Electronics 005930, -0.08%   fell another 2.6%. Since Tuesday’s fourth-quarter update, the stock has skidded 9.7%, on pace for its worst week since May 2012.

Meanwhile, the Japanese currency has rallied the past three days after the Bank of Japan on Tuesday cut the size of ongoing purchases of government bonds for one bucket of longer-term debt. That set off talk that it could be a small step toward policy normalization. Tighter monetary policy often sends a currency’s value higher relative to others.

Some investors have been reversing bets that the yen’s value would fall as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, and the BoJ has been seen as being some time off in doing the same. The dollar JPYUSD, +0.029670%   is around ¥111.25, versus ¥111.80 when Tokyo stock trading ended Thursday.

The Nikkei NIK, -0.24%   was off 0.1% in early afternoon trading.

The WSJ Dollar Index finished Thursday at its lowest level in nearly four months, but if later Friday’s consumer-price report provides a hint of a stronger U.S. inflation...that might be the catalyst that the U.S. dollar needs for a turnaround.

But Asian stocks rose in general Friday, after the region saw its first broad selling of the year the prior two days. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.68%   led the way at 0.7% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.94%   gained 0.5%. That index is looking to post a record-extending 14th straight gain Friday as it marches closer to 2007’s record high.

Bright Smart Securities said southbound liquidity should continue to drive Hong Kong equities higher as long as nothing goes wrong in China-listed stocks.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks were little changed Friday as trade data showed a much smaller than expected increase in imports last month. The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.10%  , up 0.1%, is trying to post a record 11th consecutive gain.

U.S. oil futures fell 0.3% in Asian trading, reversing the gain seen during U.S. action. That advance put West Texas Intermediate up for a 15th day out of 19 and at fresh three-year highs.

Source:marketwatch.com

Most Asia-Pacific stock markets chalked up modest gains early Friday, following fresh records on major U.S. indexes, stemming two days of declines in the region.

But a third straight big drop in Samsung and ongoing strength in the yen kept the main stock indexes in South Korea and Japan lower.

Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.34%   was recently down 0.1% as Samsung Electronics 005930, -0.08%   fell another 2.6%. Since Tuesday’s fourth-quarter update, the stock has skidded 9.7%, on pace for its worst week since May 2012.

Meanwhile, the Japanese currency has rallied the past three days after the Bank of Japan on Tuesday cut the size of ongoing purchases of government bonds for one bucket of longer-term debt. That set off talk that it could be a small step toward policy normalization. Tighter monetary policy often sends a currency’s value higher relative to others.

Some investors have been reversing bets that the yen’s value would fall as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, and the BoJ has been seen as being some time off in doing the same. The dollar JPYUSD, +0.029670%   is around ¥111.25, versus ¥111.80 when Tokyo stock trading ended Thursday.

The Nikkei NIK, -0.24%   was off 0.1% in early afternoon trading.

The WSJ Dollar Index finished Thursday at its lowest level in nearly four months, but if later Friday’s consumer-price report provides a hint of a stronger U.S. inflation...that might be the catalyst that the U.S. dollar needs for a turnaround.

But Asian stocks rose in general Friday, after the region saw its first broad selling of the year the prior two days. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, +0.68%   led the way at 0.7% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.94%   gained 0.5%. That index is looking to post a record-extending 14th straight gain Friday as it marches closer to 2007’s record high.

Bright Smart Securities said southbound liquidity should continue to drive Hong Kong equities higher as long as nothing goes wrong in China-listed stocks.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks were little changed Friday as trade data showed a much smaller than expected increase in imports last month. The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.10%  , up 0.1%, is trying to post a record 11th consecutive gain.

U.S. oil futures fell 0.3% in Asian trading, reversing the gain seen during U.S. action. That advance put West Texas Intermediate up for a 15th day out of 19 and at fresh three-year highs.

Source:marketwatch.com

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