Alexa

Most Asian markets rise after Wall Street turnaround; Hong Kong, China post losses

Most Asian markets rise after Wall Street turnaround; Hong Kong, China post losses

Most Asian markets rose Monday after the easing of some concerns about the U.S. financial sector. Hong Kong and Chinese exchanges, though, lost ground on worries about possible economic tightening measures on the mainland.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei index jumped 3.1 percent to close at 13,914.6, a month-and-a-half high. Traders snapped up banks and insurers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, taking their cue from Wall Street's dramatic turnaround Friday on reports that a bailout plan for troubled bond insurer Ambac Financial could be announced this week.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average finished 0.8 percent higher at 12,381 on the Ambac news, staging a reversal of more than 200 points from its session low.
CNBC's report of a possible plan to shore up the U.S. financial group also helped to lift stock exchange benchmarks in Australia, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
Gainers in Tokyo on Monday included Aioi Insurance, which surged 14 percent, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, which added 10 percent.
Among banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 4.8 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ gained 4.1 percent.
"The chance for the Nikkei to rise looks bigger than the risk to drop," said Masayoshi Okamoto, general manager at Jujiya Securities.
Hong Kong shares dipped on worries about possible tighter money policies in China to control inflation, as well as on concerns about a liquidity squeeze on Chinese stock exchanges.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent to 23,269.1. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 4.1 percent to close at 4,192.5, a seven-month low.
"The Hong Kong market is increasingly tracking China's stock market, so tightening and liquidity concerns in China will remain an overhang on local stocks," said Peter Lai, a director at DBS Vickers Securities Ltd.
Local bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing fell 4.1 percent, after dropping 4.1 percent Friday on Goldman Sach's rating downgrade to "neutral" from "buy."
The investment bank said it is concerned the Hong Kong Exchanges' valuation could be hurt by any tightening measures in China or a possible U.S. recession. Goldman Sachs also said the tighter liquidity in China poses uncertainties for real estate developers.
Blue-chip developer Wharf Holdings dropped 4.6 percent. Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 0.6 percent.
China Unicom fell 4.7 percent on a report of a likely delay in the restructuring of China's telecommunications industry. China Mobile slid 0.5 percent. China Unicom shares also fell in Shanghai after the Shanghai Securities News reported the likely delay, dropping the 10 percent daily trading limit.
Other Chinese stocks were dogged by the worries that an influx of newly tradable shares will strain liquidity.
Ping An Insurance has said it plans to raise up to 160 billion Chinese yuan (US$22.3 billion; euro15.02 billion) from a sale of bonds and additional shares. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank intends to raise up to 40 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion; euro3.77 billion) from a share sale, people close to the bank told Dow Jones Newswires.
"The slew of equity fundraising plans that surfaced recently has really shaken investor confidence, as the market was already weak given the slowing global economy," said Amy Lin, a strategist at Capital Securities.
Shanghai-traded Ping An Insurance fell 5.8 percent. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank fell 2.5 percent.
Car maker SAIC Motor slumped by the 10 percent daily limit amid concerns that slower global growth will hurt car makers' earnings.
In Tokyo currencies, the dollar was trading at 107.37 yen at 4:50 p.m. (0750 GMT) Monday, up from 106.93 yen late Friday in New York. The euro fell to US$1.4820 from US$1.4825.