HONG KONG — Asian shares were mixed yesterday as fears about the euro zone and a slowdown in China were offset by hopes the US central bank chief would this week outline steps to boost the world’s biggest economy. Trade was light with little in the way of cues after US stocks ended mixed on Monday and the London Stock Exchange was closed for a public holiday.
Tokyo fell 0.57 per cent, or 52.10 points, to 9,033.29, while Seoul edged down 0.08 per cent, or 1.54 points, to 1,916.33, with shares in market leader Samsung Electronics rebounding 1.27 per cent. The firm’s shares had plunged on Monday after a US court last week fined it $1.05 billion for breaching arch-rival Apple’s patents. Sydney gained 0.36 per cent, or 15.7 points, to 4,359.4 while Hong Kong was flat, edging up 0.07 per cent, or 13.13 points, to 19,811.80.
Shanghai jumped 0.85 per cent, or 17.44 points, to 2,073.15 as investors cheered a plan by blue-chip Baoshan Iron and Steel to buy back its shares, raising hopes of similar moves by other companies, dealers said. In other markets:
■ Taipei fell 1.42 per cent, or 106.28 points, to 7,361.94. Hon Hai Precision shed 3.77 per cent to Tw$84.2 while Acer was 1.32 per cent lower at Tw$26.1.
■ Wellington rose 0.16 per cent, or 5.82 points, to 3,629.05. Telecom Corp rose 0.62 per cent to NZ$2.43.
■ Manila rose 0.63 per cent, or 32.27 points, to 5,175.62. Alliance Global Group Inc rose 4.09 per cent to 11.72 pesos and Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 0.81 per cent to 93.55 pesos.
Asian shares have been driven higher in August on hopes of fresh central bank stimulus but the euphoria has been tempered in recent sessions by fears expectations may not be met.
Investors were waiting to see what central bankers say about stimulus measures when they meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke set for a key address on Friday. “People are waiting for Jackson Hole,” Paul Chan at Invesco in Hong Kong, told Dow Jones Newswires. “If anything disappoints the market, we could have a pretty nasty pullback.”
Traders are also hoping for hints about the European Central Bank’s plans for a new programme to buy bonds of struggling euro zone states, and signals China could move to arrest its slowing growth by easing monetary policy.
“Investors are staying sluggish and balancing global easing expectations and worries over an economic slowdown in Europe and China,” Tomoichiro Kubota, senior market analyst at Matsui Securities in Japan, told Dow Jones.
They were also looking to a meeting later yesterday between European Union president Herman Van Rompuy and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
“Any hints as to how close Spain is to formally requesting assistance from her EU partners will be important given this is a precondition for the ECB resuming secondary market bond buying,” National Australia Bank said in a note.
The euro slipped in Asia yesterday after a key German business sentiment indicator released the previous day fell to its lowest level since March 2010. — AFP