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News > International
Japan slides, HK edges up
December 5, 2000: 6:28 a.m. ET

Tech and telecom stocks slide; HK up as U.S. election picture starts to clear
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Asian markets were mixed Tuesday, with telecom and technology stocks dragging Tokyo into the red in the wake of the latest decline on the U.S. Nasdaq composite index the previous day.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average fell 259.68 points, or 1.7 percent, to close at 14,695.05, breaking a three-day winning streak. Automaker Honda Motor, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, and consumer electronics powerhouse Sony led the market lower.

graphicHong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 13.97 points, or 0.1 percent, to end the session at 14,573.2, with London-based international bank HSBC Holdings helping the benchmark index higher on optimism that the chaos surrounding the U.S. presidential election will soon draw to an end.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index climbed 1.2 percent to 1,953.61, lifted by high-tech issues such as Venture Manufacturing, up 4.8 percent, Chartered Semiconductor, which rose 1.8 percent, and Omni Industries, with an advance of 3.6 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney rose 24.8 points, nearly 0.8 percent, to 3,306.5, led by Telstra, the country's dominant telephone company, up 3 percent, and miner Rio Tinto, which rose 1.4 percent.

In the U.S. on Monday, the Nasdaq composite index slipped 1.1 percent to 2,615.75, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.56 points, or 1.8 percent, to 10,560.10.

On the currency market, the yen strengthened to ¥110.61 against the U.S. dollar from ¥111.02 in late New York trade on Monday.

Tokyo posts losses

In Tokyo, among the leading decliners were firms seen as vulnerable to upcoming changes to the make-up of Morgan Stanley Capital International's indexes. That included telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, which could see MSCI cut its index weighting because a large slice of its stock is held by the Japanese government, hence not freely tradable. NTT shares fell 3.25 percent.

graphicNTT's separately listed mobile-phone unit NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest company by market value, slipped 1.4 percent.

Other high-tech issues including Canon were also weaker following Nasdaq's overnight drop. Canon fell 3.2 percent, consumer electronics maker Sony lost 1 percent, and rival Hitachi dipped 1.2 percent.

Companies deriving a large part of their revenue by exporting to the U.S. declined, amid signs that growth is slowing in the world's biggest economy. Honda Motor, Japan's second-biggest carmaker, skidded 3.5 percent, Toyota Motor slipped 2.5 percent, Mazda Motor dipped 2.8 percent and Nissan Motor lost 1 percent.

Also in the auto sector, tire maker Bridgestone sank 13.7 percent even after officials at its U.S.-based Bridgestone/Firestone unit on Monday dismissed suggestions by plaintiffs' attorneys that costs resulting from a lawsuit over faulty tires would force the company into bankruptcy.

Doubts over the U.S. unit's financial health still linger because the recall of 6.5 million tires and the potential cost of court-awarded damages, analysts said.

Several "old-economy" issues such as oil companies and trading houses declined sharply.

Oil refiner Japan Energy tumbled more than 9 percent after surging 37 percent in the previous six sessions, and Arabia Oil plunged 10 percent.

Trading house Nissho Iwai tumbled 17.4 percent, after soaring 65 percent over the previous three sessions on news it had agreed with Indonesia Petroleum jointly to develop an oilfield in Brazil.

Weakness seen for HK telecoms

In Hong Kong, HSBC Holdings rose 2.3 percent, amid hopes that the Florida courts will soon bring the U.S. presidential election saga to a close.

Commercial property conglomerate Swire Pacific leapt almost 6 percent on reports it planned to buy three industrial buildings for HK$2 billion ($256 million). Rival Cheung Kong (Holdings) climbed 2.3 percent.

China Mobile, mainland China's biggest mobile-phone operator, fell 1.5 percent. China Unicom, the industry No. 2, dipped 1.1 percent, both companies having risen in the previous two days after Beijing dismissed reports it was about to stop companies charging users for incoming mobile phone calls.

"Momentum in the two China telecom stocks is slowing because all the good news is in the price now," said Herbert Lau, an associate director of research at Celestial Asia Securities. "In the near term they will follow the trend in the telecom sector, where there is still some weakness."

Internet and telecom company Pacific Century CyberWorks fell 3.7 percent.

Bucking the trend, SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings soared 13.6 percent after Singapore Telecommunications said it was interested in buying British Telecommunications' 20 percent stake in the company.

Among other Asian markets, Seoul's KOSPI index rose more than 3 percent, Taipei's Taiwan Weighted gained 0.5 percent, the KLSE composite in Kuala Lumpur added 0.8 percent, and the BSE Sensex in Mumbai rose 0.9 percent. Jakarta's JSX edged up 0.4 percent.

The SET index in Bangkok slipped 0.9 percent, while the PHS composite in Manila was little changed at 1,381.23.

--from staff and wire reports graphic

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.