Wednesday, 22 July 2015 14:04
HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly retreated Wednesday following a negative lead from Wall Street while Japanese shares were dragged by a stronger yen, but Shanghai extended its latest rally to a fifth straight day.
The euro held on to most of its gains after a recent sell-off, with Greek lawmakers due to vote later in the day on another round of reforms aimed at getting access to much-needed bailout cash.
Tech firms linked to Apple retreated after the latest earnings report from the world’s biggest company left investors disappointed. Apple shares tumbled after it said net profit leapt almost 40 percent in April-June but iPhone sales were weaker than expected and sales forecasts also fell short.
Tokyo lost 1.19 percent after coming within a whisker Tuesday of a fresh 18-year high. It dropped 248.30 points to finish at 20,593.67.
Seoul fell 0.91 percent, or 18.89 points, to close at 2,064.73 and Hong Kong gave up 0.99 percent, or 253.81 points, to 25,282.62.
However, Shanghai reversed morning losses to end 0.21 percent higher, adding 8.37 points to 4,026.05 as Chinese government measures this month aimed at ending a market rout continue to support buying.
In Tokyo, Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing dropped 4.59 percent to 945 yen while Japan Display tumbled 3.57 percent to 405 yen.
A drop in Apple suppliers “is contributing to the worsening market sentiment”, Tomoichiro Kubota, senior market analyst at Matsui Securities, told Bloomberg News.
Other Asian suppliers to Apple were similarly afflicted. Hon Hai Precision slipped 1.56 percent to NT$ 94.80 in Taipei, while Pegatron fell 2.96 percent to NT$ 91.70.
– Dollar retreats –
Sydney’s stock market ended a run of gains to drop 1.61 percent, closing down 92.1 points at 5,614.6.
Australia’s central bank chief said further interest rates cuts remain “on the table” as official data showed that consumer prices rose 0.7 percent in the three months to June, keeping annual inflation subdued.
After a broadly healthy set of gains in recent sessions, Asian investors took a step back after losses in New York that come in response to weak quarterly reports from tech giants Microsoft and United Technologies. The figures raised concerns about the upcoming US earnings season.
The Dow sank 1.00 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.43 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.21 percent, snapping a streak of three straight record highs.
The dollar slipped on profit-taking after a recent rally, although the weakness is not expected to last as the Federal Reserve holds its next policy meeting on July 29, with traders looking for clues about its timetable for lifting interest rates.
Analysts have forecast a rise in either September or December after Fed chief Janet Yellen said this month she saw a move by the end of the year.
The dollar was at 123.76 yen in Tokyo Wednesday, down from 123.86 yen in New York, and much lower than 124.35 yen in Tokyo earlier Tuesday.
The euro fetched $ 1.0940 and 135.45 yen, down from $ 1.0942 and 135.53 yen in US trade but well up from $ 1.0825 and 134.61 yen Tuesday in Asia.
The single currency was given some buoyancy by the progress in Greece on securing a fresh bailout.
“The euro is higher as progress continues to be made toward a third financial assistance programme for Greece,” said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Securities.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 68 cents to $ 50.18 a barrel and Brent crude for September tumbled 52 cents to $ 56.52 in afternoon Asian trade.
And gold remains under pressure around five-year lows as the Fed edges closer to its rate rise, which has seen investors pile into the dollar and out of the precious metal looking for better returns.
Bullion fetched $ 1,095.49 an ounce compared with $ 1,108.55 late Tuesday.
In other markets:
— Taipei fell 0.97 percent, or 87.26 points, to 8,918.7.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co closed 1.07 percent lower at Tw$ 139.0 while Fubon Financial Holding was off 0.98 percent at Tw$ 60.5.
— Wellington rose 0.87 percent, or 50.84 points, to 5,927.75.
Contact Energy led the gainers, up 2.80 percent at NZ$ 5.14, while market heavyweight Fletcher Building rose 0.62 percent to NZ$ 8.16.
— Manila closed 0.10 percent higher, adding 7.66 points to 7,635.62.
Universal Robina rose 0.27 percent to 183.00 pesos and GT Capital gained 2.46 percent to 1,414.00 pesos but Semirara Mining and Power plunged 9.31 percent to 111.10 pesos after its mine was shut down by an accident that killed nine people last week.