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Business, Asia

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

Business, Asia

Asian shares slip on profit-taking

AFP | Monday, Sep 22, 2014

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly slipped Monday on profit-taking after the big gains at the end of last week, while the dollar eased from more than six-year highs against the yen.

Investors seemed unimpressed after the Group of 20 said the world's biggest economies were on track to achieve an extra 1.8 per cent growth on top of current projections within five years.

Tokyo, which on Friday ended at an almost seven-year high, slipped 0.71 per cent, or 115.27 points to 16,205.90, while Sydney shed 1.29 per cent, or 70.1 points, to 5,363.0. Seoul lost 0.71 per cent, or 14.55 points, to 2,039.27.

Shanghai fell 1.70 per cent, or 39.59 points, to 2,289.87 and Hong Kong sank 1.44 per cent, or 350.67 points, to 23,955.49 as investors await the release Tuesday of preliminary manufacturing data out of China.

Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said a series of economic reports had come in below expectations. He added that another weak reading "will underscore weakness in the Chinese economy".

Wellington was the stand-out performer, jumping 1.06 per cent, or 54.95 points, to 5,236.29 after the pro-business National Party won a resounding election victory at the weekend.

Regional markets ended last week on a high, helped by news that Scottish voters had rejected independence from the United Kingdom.

But there are still concerns about the Chinese economy as dealers look ahead to the release of HSBC's purchasing managers index (PMI) that market watchers expect to indicate further weakness in the economy.

Softbank falls despite Alibaba surge 

On Wall Street a surge in new listing Alibaba helped the Dow rise 0.08 per cent Friday to hit a new record high.

But the S&P 500 finished down 0.96 points and the Nasdaq dipped 0.30 per cent.

Alibaba rallied 38.1 per cent to US$93.89 (S$119) on its debut after its IPO raised a world record US$25 billion.

However, in Tokyo Monday Softbank, which holds about a third of Alibaba's shares, slipped 6.1 per cent on profit-taking despite saying it would probably book a gain of about US$4.6 billion from the IPO.

The firm rose about 30 per cent in the six weeks leading up to the listing.

The dollar bought 108.86 yen (S$1.30), compared with 108.99 yen in New York and sitting close to levels not seen since 2008. While it is well off the 109.21 yen earlier Friday in Asia, analysts are tipping it to break the 110 yen barrier soon.

The euro bought US$1.2858 and 139.99 yen, against US$1.2832 and 139.84 yen in US trade.

The G20 at the weekend said members could overcome geopolitical tensions and financial problems to boost global growth.

Finance ministers and central bank governors at the two-day meeting said in a communique that reforms agreed so far - including accelerating infrastructure investment, financial reform and encouraging free trade - could add 1.8 per cent to GDP and create millions of new jobs.

But more work was needed to meet a desired two per cent goal agreed in Sydney earlier this year.

In New Zealand investors cheered a third straight election win for the party of Prime Minister John Key, who has been credited with hauling the economy out of torpor following the financial crisis.

On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 40 cents to US$92.01, while Brent crude for November fell 48 cents to US$97.91 in afternoon trade.

Gold was at US$1,215.17 an ounce, against US$1,221.56 an ounce late Friday. In other markets: - Taipei closed down 1.14 per cent, or 105.80 points, at 9,134.65.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co shed 2.40 per cent to Tw$122.0 (S$5.10), while Hon Hai Precision was 0.50 per cent lower at Tw$100.5. - Manila was 0.10 per cent lower, dipping 7.43 points to 7,279.86.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. fell 0.97 per cent to 3,270 pesos (S$313), while SM Prime Holdings bucked the trend to rise 1.13 per cent to 17.90 pesos.

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