Asian markets finished mostly lower Thursday as investors took positions ahead of some key data from the U.S. and China.
After gains in recent sessions, markets were in for some consolidation as investors awaited latest pointers on growth in the world's top two economies.
The U.S. was scheduled to release initial jobless claims data later in the global trading day, while government figures on Chinese inflation were due for release on Friday.
In Australia, data released earlier Thursday showed an unexpected drop in employment in January with the jobless rate rising to 6% from 5.8% in December. The number of employed persons fell by 3,700 to 11.46 million. Aussie stocks gave up earlier gains after the data.
Japanese exporters were down as the yen held its recent gains versus the U.S. dollar.
Stocks on the Move
Toyota Motor fell 2.1% in Tokyo after news it is recalling 1.9 million of Prius hybrid cars to repair faulty software.
Asahi Group dropped 4.5% after the company lowered its earlier profit projections.
Seiko Holdings Corp. plunged 10.6% after the company forecast fiscal year profit much lower than expected.
Sony retraced some of yesterday’s gains and was down 2%. Panasonic fell 3.2% while Sharp and NEC Corp. were both more than 3% lower each, respectively.
Mazda Motor also reversed around 4% while Honda was down 2.1%.
Softbank was down 3.6% even as its CEO said its wireless subsidiary Sprint Corp. needs to make another acquisition in the U.S. if the company is to achieve its ambition of shaking up the North American mobile-phone market.
Lenovo Group was down 0.5% after the company reported forecast-beating results. The personal computer maker recently unveiled plans for two big acquisitions in the U.S.
Hong Kong stocks were lower on concerns after the default of another trust-product, leading to worries over China’s shadow-banking sector.
Banks were lower after a high-yield investment product distributed by China Construction Bank Corp. failed to repay investors. Its shares were down 1.5%. ICBC was down 1.2% while AgBank fell 1.4%.
China Mengniu Dairy added to the previous session’s gains, up a further 3.8% after Hang Seng Index Co. said the stock would be included in the benchmark index from March 10 in place of China Coal Energy. China Coal shares dropped over 4%.
A contraction in industrial production in January capped gains in Mumbai, offsetting any positive effects of slowing retail inflation.
TCS was up 1.4% while Mahindra & Mahindra added 1.2%. SSLT was up 0.7%. Sun Pharma gained 0.6%.
Telstra rose 0.8% in Sydney after the company hiked dividend even as the company reported profit growth below expectations. Also after results, Transurban Group edged up 0.2%.
Gold digger Newcrest Mining shone 3% after a news report quoted the company as saying it had no plans for raising more equity.