Asia Stocks Mostly Up But China, India Lag Behind

Big 5

Asian shares traded mostly higher Tuesday, as investors welcomed earnings-related gains from HSBC Holdings PLC, Hitachi Ltd. and Panasonic Corp. while hoping for policy easing from global central banks later in the week.

South Korea led the advance with the Kospi SEU +2.07% jumping 2.1%. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average 100000018 +0.69% rose 0.7%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index XJO +0.55% climbed 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI +0.95% advanced 0.9%.

“People are still hopeful that there might be some stimulus,” said Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray, referring to expectations from the monetary policy meetings of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank later this week.

In Mumbai, the Sensex 1 +0.07% dropped 0.4% after the Reserve Bank of India kept its key lending rate unchanged at 8%, but slashed its growth forecast. Read more on the RBI decision.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index 000001 -0.30% dropped a further 0.3%, after ending at its worst level since March 2009 on Monday.

“The worrying thing is the number of profit warnings from Chinese companies. They are really feeling the impact from the global slowdown,” said Piper Jaffray’s Sullivan.

Earnings were among the drivers for the Japanese market Tuesday, with tech and industrial conglomerate Hitachi 6501 +1.97%HTHIF -2.03% rising 2% after it reported quarterly profit rising to 7 billion yen ($89.2 million), more than double the year-earlier period earnings. Read more on Hitachi earnings.

Renesas Electronics Corp. 6723 +16.37% soared 16.4% after a Nikkei report that Hitachi will provide it with ¥17.5 billion of financing. Hitachi holds a major stake in Renesas.

Panasonic 6752 +4.60% PC -2.06% jumped 4.6% after a separate Nikkei report that it will likely move back to profit in the April-June quarter, with group net income estimated at ¥10 billion, compared to a ¥30.3 billion loss in the year-earlier period. Read more on Panasonic’s earnings outlook.

Canon Inc. 7751 +5.83% CAJ +1.75% rallied 5.8% after announcing a share-buyback plan covering 1.8% of its outstanding stock.

Major Japanese banks were also reporting earnings this week, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. 8316 -0.56%SMFG -2.44% losing 0.6% in a choppy session, after the firm posted a 43% drop in profit while holding to its fiscal-year earnings forecast. Read more on Sumitomo Mitsui earnings.

Aozora Bank Ltd. 8304 -3.72%, lost 3.7% after reporting that its quarterly net profit slipped to ¥10.44 billion from ¥10.95 billion in the year-ago period.

In Hong Kong, a 1% gain for HSBC 5 +0.46% HBC +1.45% helped support the Hang Seng Index, which carries the bank as its top-weighted component.

HSBC’s London shares HSBA -0.77% rallied 2.3% overnight despite the bank posting lower profit for the first half of the year as it set aside cash to deal with possible repercussions from a U.S. money-laundering probe. Read more on HSBC earnings.

Other Hong Kong-listed lenders also trended higher, with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. 1398 +2.31% IDCBF -3.51%601398 +1.08% up 1.9% and China Construction Bank Corp. 939 +2.76% CICHF +3.67% 601939 +1.02% rising 1.8%.

Some Hong Kong-focused property developers saw gains as well, with Henderson Land Development Co. 12 +2.27% HLDVF -0.53% up 1.8% and Hang Lung Properties Ltd. 101 0.00% HLPPF -4.05% rising 2.6%.

Due to its currency peg to the U.S. dollar, Hong Kong’s monetary policy follows that of the Federal Reserve, with any future easing possibly fueling higher real-estate prices. Read This Week in China column on effects of U.S. easing on Hong Kong.

Energy firms were supporting the Australian share market, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd. WPL +1.63% WOPEF +0.71% up 1.6% as oil futures once more approached the $90 a barrel level. Read more on Australian stocks.

Major electronics firms helped the South Korean market to gain, with Samsung Electronics Co. SSNLF -0.30% rising 2.7% and SK Hynix Inc. HXSCL 0.00% up 1.9%.

Shanghai stocks lagged, with Tuesday’s decliners including car makers Dongfeng Automobile Co.600006 -3.01%, down 2.7%, and SAIC Motor Corp. 600104 -0.70%,down 0.6%.

Banks were among the decliners in Mumbai after the RBI decision. Shares of State Bank of India 500112 -1.45% fell 2.7% and ICICI Bank Ltd. IBN +1.12% 532174 -0.13% gave up 0.7%, while automobile major Tata Motors Ltd. TTM +1.45% 500570 -0.27% shed 1.3%.

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