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Market Update

Asia: Stocks Trade Mixed; Yen Gains

Shares in the Asian region traded mixed while paring some of the losses registered early on in the day on Tuesday. While the Japanese benchmark index ended in the red after logging back-to-back gains in the previous two days, China's key index rose as it awaits gross domestic product and retail data on Thursday.

The Japanese yen starred in the currencies market rising against all its major peers and halting a rally in exporter stocks.

At close, Japan's Nikkei closed down 0.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended flat even as mainland China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.5%. India's BSE Sensex was trading lower by 0.2%, at the time of writing.

The Nikkei saw a bout of profit booking after it logged gains of 4.3% in the past two trading sessions. As the yen rose, shares in export-driven companies softened a bit.

Canon lost about 0.4%, Honda Motor Co rose 0.3% while I.T. firm Fujitsu dropped 3.9% after the company changed its explanation why its former president quit last year, prompting the Tokyo exchange to launch an investigation.

In Hong Kong, most stocks continued to drift lower but the day's stars included China Southern Airlines, which rose about 6.4% after the company unveiled a $1.4 billion fund-raising plan.

China's Shanghai index gained on back of strength in property stocks after a policymaker said there was no reason to try and cool down property prices in the country.

China's property prices have been the subject of debate globally after they rose spectacularly in the last one year. Recently, renowned short-seller Jim Chanos said the country's real estate was in a bubble.

India's Sensex saw investors rush into defensive sectors like fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals while avoiding high-beta plays like auto, metals and oil and gas.

Across the region, the Australian benchmark index, ASX, registered gains for the eight consecutive day, rising 0.25%--the index is now up 4.9% in eight days. While financials and healthcare stocks led the gains on the ASX, mining stocks including those of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the major gainers in March, eased.