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Asian markets mixed; Nikkei falls after hefty gains in previous session

Asian markets mixed; Nikkei falls after hefty gains in previous session

Asian markets were mixed Tuesday, with Japanese stocks dropping as investors took profit following hefty gains the day before.
China and Hong Kong stocks again moved in tandem as the Shanghai composite index and the Hang Seng both gained more than 1 percent. Indices in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan also posted gains.
Stocks edged lower in Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand, and the main benchmark in South Korea finished flat.
The Nikkei 225 index fell 0.7 percent, to 13,824.7 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after jumping more than 3 percent Monday to a month-and-a-half high as investors bought banks and insurers.
On Monday, though, investors grew cautious ahead of U.S. economic data coming out next week, including the national report on manufacturing and employment data, traders said.
Toyota Motor Corp. fell 0.33 percent, Nippon Steel lost 2.21 percent and major cell phone carrier NTT DoCoMo dropped 1.31 percent.
The losses bucked a rise of almost 190 points on Wall Street overnight, and underscored wariness of Standard & Poor's decision to maintain its top ratings on troubled U.S. bond insurers.
"Many players are wondering whether the decision reflects reality" after so much talk of the bond insurers' deteriorating health due to their guarantees of subprime mortgage-backed securities, said Seiichiro Muta, director of foreign exchange in Tokyo at UBS.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 108.02 yen at 4:50 p.m. (0750 GMT) in Tokyo, down from 108.07 yen late Monday in New York. The euro fell to US$1.4799 from US$1.4825.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.9 percent to 23, 714.8. The index is still down 15 percent since the beginning of the year.
Traders said the local market may get a boost next week ahead of the National People's Congress _ an annual meeting of legislators in China _ on expectations of new policy initiatives aimed at maintaining the health of the Chinese economy.
"Right now there are no signs of large inflows to keep a sustained rise in the benchmark index," said Kingston Lin, associate director at Prudential Brokerage. "That may change with next month's NPC meetings, which could offer some good news to the market."
Property developers led the blue-chip gains on expectations the territory's government would unveil income and property tax rebates when Financial Secretary John Tsang presents his maiden budget Wednesday.
Sino Land jumped 6.6 percent, Wharf Holdings rose 6.5 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties added 4.1 percent and Cheung Kong gained 2.1 percent. China-related shares also rose, recovering from declines earlier in the session.
China Construction Bank rose 2 percent, Bank of China climbed 1.9 percent and ICBC advanced 1.8 percent.
On the mainland, worries of a liquidity crunch eased after the securities regulator urged companies to carefully consider their fundraising plans. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1 percent to 4,238.2, after falling 4.1 percent in the previous session.
China's stock regulator has warned companies against "malicious money grabbing," urging them to take investor demand into account when drawing up plans for raising funds through share offerings.
Ping An Insurance shares rose 4.1 percent after the state-run China Securities Journal reported the company would reconsider the timing and size of its US$22 billion fundraising plan.
But wariness over a possible greater number of shares than demand pushed China United Telecommunications, or China Unicom, down by 4.2 percent _ even though the mobile carrier issued a statement saying it has no new fundraising plans.
On Monday, China Unicom fell the daily limit of 10 percent amid speculation that the company was planning a share offering.
Chinese shares prices have been faltering this year, with some 400 billion yuan (US$56 billion; euro38 billion) worth of shares held by strategic investors and large shareholders due to become tradable in March, when a series of lockup periods expire.
The Shanghai index is down about 20 percent from the beginning of the year.


Updated : 2021-07-24 13:59 GMT+08:00