The equities market in the Asia/Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday, with the Hang Seng pulling back from a seven-month high, while the Nikkei and ASX ticked higher, led by rising commodity prices.
[B][U]Asia[/U][/B][B][U] Session Key Developments[/U][/B]
[B][U]<span style=“font-size: 9pt; font-family: “Arial”,“sans-serif”;”>[/U][/B]
· [B]Japan’s annual growth rate falls 15.2% as exports falter[/B][B][/B]
· [B]Rising commodity prices leads market higher[/B]
[B]Asian Equities Mixed, Hang Seng Pulls Back From Seven-Month High[/B]
The equities market in the Asia/Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday, with the Hang Seng pulling back from a seven-month high, while the Nikkei and ASX ticked higher, led by rising commodity prices. Meanwhile, a report by the Japanese government showed economic activity contracted at a record pace in the year ending in March as exports plunged 26%, and the data continues to foreshadow a weakening outlook for the world’s second largest economy. Moreover, Japanese Finance Minister Yosano said that the fiscal stimulus may fall short to revive economic activity in the region, while BoJ Governor Shirakawa maintained his growth forecast, stating that the central bank will continue to commit ‘abundant funds’ to shore up the economy.
[B]NKY 225 9344.64[/B]
The Nikkei 225 index climbed 54.35 points (0.59%), led by a 2.36% rise in oil & gas as crude prices held steady at $60 a barrel. Mitsubishi Corp, a Japanese trading company that obtains more than half of its profits from commodities, advanced 5.00% after Goldman Sachs raised the firms rating to ‘attractive’ from ‘neutral,’ while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the third largest shipping line in the region, gained 4.66% following the advance in shipping fees. Meanwhile, shares of T&D Holdings, the largest listed life insurer in Japan, plunged 15.34% after the firm posted a bigger than expected loss for the year ending in March.
The Hang Seng pulled back from a seven-month high as the equity index slipped 68.19 points (0.39%) to close at 17,475.84 in Hong Kong. Utilities led the decline as the sector slipped 1.55%, followed by a 1.22% drop in consumer goods, while telecommunications and basic materials advanced 0.61% and 0.52%, respectively. At the same time, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd led the markets higher as shares advanced 7.82% following the upgrade to ‘buy’ from Goldman, while Citic Pacific Ltd gained 6.76% on speculation that the restructuring of the firm will help to turn the company around.
[B]ASX 200 3824.60[/B]
The ASX 200 picked up 7.30 points (0.19%) to end the trading session at 3,824.60, led by technology and basic materials, which gained 1.49% and 1.29%, respectively. Shares of ABB Grain Ltd advanced 1.7% after Viterra Inc, Canada’s biggest grain handler, offered to buy the firm, while Billabong International plunged 20.43% to lead the market lower after the firm sold nearly A$230M in new shares.
[B][U]Notable Asian Session Event Risk / Economic Releases[/U][/B]