Asian markets were mixed yesterday, with Tokyo the best performer as the yen weakened against the dollar owing to dimming expectations of fresh monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve.
With few catalysts to drive action during the holiday season trade was light, although shares were kept buoyant by lingering hopes for a restart of sovereign bond-buying by the European Central Bank and new stimulus in China.
Tokyo rose 1.88%, or 167.72 points, to 9,092.76, Sydney climbed 1.14%, or 49.0 points, to 4,330.2 and Seoul closed flat, adding 0.95 points, to 1,957.91.
But Hong Kong gave up its morning gains and slipped 0.45%, or 89.34 points, to 19,962.95 while Shanghai shed 0.32%, or 6.75 points, to 2,112.20.
Exporters on Japan’s Nikkei were the main beneficiaries of the weakening yen, which eased to a four-week low against the dollar.
The dollar bought 79.18 yen in early European trade, up from 78.87 yen in New York late Wednesday.
“The current dollar/yen level is a big support for local shares, since large manufacturers forecast the dollar to average 78.95 yen this fiscal year,” Masayuki Doshida, Rakuten Securities senior market analyst in Japan, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Honda Motor closed up 2.09% while Mazda Motor was up 3.26%, electronics giant Panasonic surged 5.52% and Nippon Steel climbed 4.29%.
Also on forex markets the euro bought $1.2272 and 97.16 yen compared with $1.2285 and 96.91 yen in New York.
Wall Street provided very little direction for Asian traders.
New data from the US showed inflation was flat and that national industrial production grew 0.6% month on month in July, mainly driven by the auto sector.
Manufacturing in the New York area posted a surprise drop.
The National Association of Homebuilders’ activity index rose by two points to 37 - still low, but the highest level since early 2007, indicating greater optimism among companies that build housing.
The Dow edged down 0.06% while the S&P 500 added 0.11% and the tech-rich Nasdaq gained a more substantial 0.34%.
In other markets: Singapore was flat, edging up 0.78 points to 3,062.89. United Overseas Bank climbed 0.20% to Sg$20.20 and Singapore Airlines inched up 0.09% to Sg$10.94.
Taipei rose 0.30%, or 22.47 points, to 7,490.21. Leading smartphone maker HTC added 2.67% to end at Tw$250.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.12% lower at Tw$82.9.
Manila fell 0.90%, or 47.15 points, to 5,219.51. Metropolitan Bank and Trust slid 2.69% to P92.30, Ayala Corp dropped 0.89% to P421.20, while its flagship Ayala Land ended 2.39% lower at P22.45.
Wellington slipped 0.41%, or 14.99 points, 3,616.20. Fletcher Building closed down 0.92% at NZ$6.53 and Telecom was off 2.82% at NZ$2.76.
Jakarta rose 0.45%, or 18.52 points, to 4,160.51. Telkom rose 6.0% to 9,800 rupiah, Bank Rakyat increased 0.7% to 7,150 rupiah and mining company Aneka Tambang jumped 1.65% to 1,230 rupiah.
Kuala Lumpur fell 0.22%, or 3.69 points, to 1,650.09. Bangkok dipped 0.20%, or 2.43 points, to 1,224.40. Banpu dropped 3.00% to 452baht, while SCC lost 1.45% to 339baht.
from gulf times.