Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday with benchmark indexes recording muted gains on the last day of June as cautious investors awaited the U.S. monthly payroll data due later in the week and deemed decisive for the Fed’s monetary policy stance.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed trade at 3591.20 after adding 18 points or 0.50 percent. Sentiment improved following comments by Peoples Bank of China that monetary policy would be flexible, targeted, and appropriate while interbank liquidity would be maintained at reasonable levels. However the positive outlook was dented after data showed that factory and service sector activity rose the least in four months amidst outbreaks of coronavirus in select regions.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 21.08 points or 0.07 percent from Tuesday’s levels to close the month at 28791.53 despite data that consumer confidence index increased by 3.3 points to 37.4 in June. Concerns on the coronavirus situation and the 5.9 percent month-on-month decline in industrial production out-weighed positive sentiment surrounding the 8.2 percent year-on-year growth in retail sales and the 9.9 percent year-on-year growth in housing starts. Minebea Mitsumi gained 3.16 percent followed by Chugai Pharmaceutical Co which gained 2.37 percent. Eisai was the biggest trailer with a 5.0 percent decline followed by J Front Retailing which lost 3.62 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial group recorded maximum volume of 37.82 million shares.

The Hang Seng Index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shed 166.15 points or 0.57 percent in the day’s trade to close at 28827.95. The day’s high was at 29146.28 and the day’s low level was at 28827.70.

South Korea’s Kospi closed trade at 3296.68, after adding 10 points or 0.30 percent from previous close amidst central bank commentary that interest rate normalization would come at an appropriate time by the end of the year. Investors also weighed in on coronavirus variant concerns, the drop in retail sales to a ten-month low as well as the bounce in industrial output.

Australia’s S&P/ASX200 gained 11.80 points or 0.16 percent to close trade at 7313 amidst reports that private sector credit rose by 0.4 percent compared to a 0.2 percent growth in the previous month. The index is currently 1.26 percent below its 52-week high as coronavirus concerns re-emerge warranting lockdowns in fresh clusters. The top performing stock in this index was mining stock Iluka Resources Ltd which rallied by 11.72 percent and also touched a new 52-week high Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals gained 4.71 percent. Nuix Ltd declined by 13 percent following reports of investigation by Australian Securities and Investments Commission on former CFO. AGL Energy declined by 9.99 percent after its confirmation of a demerger proposal. E commerce company dropped by 9.46 percent in the day’s trading. Markets await the balance of trade data on Thursday with forecasts anticipating the trade surplus to widen to AUD 9.5 billion. A higher reading of 60.4 is also expected in the manufacturing PMI data for June slated for Thursday.

New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 index gained 0.11 percent to end trade at 12654.60 amidst reports that showed ANZ Business Outlook Index declining to -0.6 in June compared to 1.8 in May. Genetics seeding company ArborGen Holdings rallied 23.26 percent after it announced strategic review following receipt of a low-ball takeover proposal. Online consumer lender Harmoney Corp’s shares rose by 10.14 percent in the day’s trade whereas rural servicing company Allied Farmers gained 6.90 percent. Phosphate developer Chatham Rock Phosphate declined by 5.51 percent whereas wellness brand Me Today declined by 5.1 percent after declaring its 2021 results.

Asian markets have closed the day’s trade with mixed sentiment, keenly watching out for indicators on progress in virus-fight in the healthcare as well as economic domains. Overnight, the Nasdaq 100 had gained 0.33 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had moved higher by 0.03 percent ahead of crucial jobs data.

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