LONDON (CNNfn) - Most Asian markets rose Tuesday, with Tokyo's main index posting a narrow gain in subdued trading ahead of a meeting at which the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates by a quarter of a percentage point. Hong Kong closed fractionally lower following a tumble for the Nasdaq market the previous day. |
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei Average of 225 shares rose 36.04 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 19,602.36, after spending most of the session in negative territory.
Electronics maker Toshiba rose 7 percent to 970 yen on reports that the company planned to invest 1 trillion yen ($9.4 billion) in the next three years in semiconductor, information technology and internet-related businesses.
Internet investor Softbank, darling of "new Japan" stocks, surged 14.3 percent to 120,000 yen.
Heavy machinery and engineering company Hitachi Zosen rose 9.6 percent to 91 yen after reports suggested the firm had developed a garbage incinerator that emits only one-tenth the volume of dioxins as existing equipment.
Among the fallers, electronics company Fujitsu fell 3.8 percent to 3,030 after warning on Friday its profit for the year ending March 31 would be a third of what it had earlier predicted. Metal smelter Mitsubishi Materials fell 11.3 percent to 328 yen after it lowered its forecast of profit for the year to the end of March 31.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.2 percent down at 17,199.98, after a rally late in the session pulled the index back from an earlier loss of as much as 1.5 percent. Banks and high-tech stocks were unsettled by an expected U.S. rate rise and the Nasdaq market's setback Monday.
Banking heavyweight HSBC Holdings fell 1.1 percent to HK$87.50 and Dao Heng Bank slipped fell 1.7 percent to HK$30.40.
Internet, telecom stocks down
Sunevision Holdings, the internet arm of blue-chip developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, fell 4.9 percent to HK$15.30. Sun Hung Kai fell 2.9 percent to HK$66.75.
Internet darling Pacific Century CyberWorks fell 6.4 percent to HK$19.10 even after it said it swung to a net profit of HK$346.81 million in 1999 from a loss a year earlier. Among phone stocks, Cable & Wireless HKT, Hong Kong's largest telecom carrier, fell 5.2 percent to HK$20.85.
Telecommunications conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa and parent Cheung Kong (Holdings) rose before both report full-year results on Thursday. Property developer Cheung Kong rose HK$3.50 to HK$108.00, while Hutchison gained $4.50 to HK$135.50.
In Taiwan, the market's main stock index rose 5.5 percent Tuesday to close at 9,004.48, up 468.43 points, more than reversing the market's 2.6 percent slump the previous day as concern about mounting Taiwan-China tensions dissipated. Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-Bian called for a peace summit with Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province. Chen's electoral victory Saturday ended half a century of Nationalist rule.
Singapore's Straits Times index got a lift from the brighter mood in Taiwan, gaining 39.73 points, or 2 percent, to 2,118.54 as blue-chips stocks and property shares rallied. Southeast Asia's biggest bank DBS Group rose S$0.90 to S$21.90 and DBS Land gained 22 cents to S$2.42.
In subdued trading in Sydney the All Ordinaries Index closed up 14.1 points, or 0.4 percent, at 3,242.2. Telecommunications giant Telstra, which plans to sell A$247 million of assets to internet company Solution 6 and take a 40 percent interest in Solution 6 Sausage, rose 1.9 percent to A$7.84. Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corp. rose 3.4 percent to A$25.85.
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index rose 0.8 percent to 857.50, while Manila shares closed 0.3 percent lower on U.S. rate concerns. Kuala Lumpur rose 1.1 percent to close at 939.50, while Bangkok gained 0.7 percent to end the session at 398.26. Jakarta slipped 1 percent to close at 578.97.
In the U.S. Monday the Nasdaq composite index posted its third-biggest point drop on record, extending last week's losses, as investors dumped high-flying Internet, biotechnology and wireless-equipment stocks and supported only the most proven of technology firms. The Nasdaq fell 188.13 points, or 3.9 percent, to 4,610, while the Dow rose 85.01 to 10,680.24.
In the currency markets, the yen traded at 106.42 to the U.S. dollar, slightly firmer than its level in late trading in New York Monday.