Asian markets were mixed yesterday, while the euro edged higher, ahead of the end of a US Federal Reserve meeting that dealers increasingly expect will see a new round of stimulus.
Regional firms linked to Apple were also range-bound after the US giant unveiled the iPhone 5 in California, with some analysts giving it a lukewarm response.
Tokyo rose 0.39%, or 35.19 points, to 8,995.15, Seoul was flat, edging up 0.66 points to 1,950.69 and Sydney eased 0.50%, or 21.9 points, to 4,339.4.
Hong Kong eased 0.14%, or 27.76 points, to 20,047.63 and Shanghai was off 0.76%, or 16.17 points, at 2,110.38.
In other markets; Singapore closed flat, edging up 0.48 points to 3,030.14; Taipei closed 0.11% higher, adding 8.35 points to 7,578.80; Manila closed 0.64% higher, adding 33.40 points to 5,240.50; Wellington closed 0.10%, or 3.68 points, lower at 3,786.04; Jakarta was flat, edging down 3.46 points to 4,170.64; Kuala Lumpur was up 0.91%, adding 14.62 points to 1,628.40, while Bangkok fell 0.18%, or 2.27 points, to 1,257.69.
The Fed was due to conclude its two-day meeting later yesterday and most economists have predicted it will announce a third round of bond-buying, or quantitative easing (QE3), to spur domestic growth.
Shares were broadly unmoved by the German Constitutional Court ruling in favour of the European Stability Mechanism’s legality on Wednesday as they had already priced in a positive result.
However, the euro continued to benefit from the decision, which removed the final hurdle to opening up the eurozone’s huge bailout fund to help struggling nations such as Spain.
Apple-related plays were uneven after Wednesday’s iPhone 5 launch.
In South Korea, supplier LG Display and chipmaker SK Hynix were down 1.99% and 1.58% respectively, while component maker TDK added 3.71% in Tokyo.
In Taipei, assembler Hon Hai Precision was flat, while metal casing producer Catcher Technology dropped 2.4%, and lens maker Largan Precision lost 0.92%.
“Overall, the iPhone 5 was disappointing hardware-wise. The software side seemed a bit promising, but it seems like it isn’t good enough to excite investors,” said Kang Hyun-Gie, an analyst at Solomon Investment & Securities in South Korea.
In Shanghai, dealers were cautious despite the cabinet saying on Wednesday it would take various measures, including speeding up payment of tax rebates to exporters, to bolster flagging exports, the economy’s key driver.
The market is also waiting for Beijing to announce monetary easing measures following several months of weak data on growth, trade, spending and investment.
From gulf times.