Dow Jones Newswires
Asian-Pacific shares ended mostly higher Monday, as investors weighed concerns about slowing global growth against high hopes for select companies' earnings.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 27.82 points, or 0.3%, to 11073.77, as investors continued to cover short positions, particularly in electric-power and gas-utility stocks, as well as pharmaceutical makers. Most investors kept to the sidelines before the rush of earnings reports from high- technology and other blue chips expected this week.
Chugai Pharmaceutical finished up 1.9% after the company said its group net profit more than doubled in the first quarter to March on brisk sales of its influenza remedy.
Matsushita Electric ended up 0.3% after rising on a Nihon Keizai Shimbun report that the consumer-electronics company's net profit for the current fiscal year ending March 2006 will likely double to about 100 billion yen .
Hitachi rose 0.3%. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun also said that the industrial- electronics company's group operating profit will rise 15% this fiscal year. A Hitachi spokesman declined to confirm the report.
Nissan ended down 1.1%. Although the car maker reported generally solid results for the fiscal year ended March 31 and forecast further growth, the issue faced active selling toward the close.
Hong Kong shares ended higher for the fifth straight session on fund inflows related to persistent speculation over the Chinese yuan. The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 56.68 points, or 0.4%, to 13750.23. Cheung Kong Infrastructure rose 1.9%, PCCW climbed 1.1%, and Yue Yuen added 1%. Meanwhile, oil stocks were mixed despite higher oil prices. Cnooc rose 0.6%, Sinopec ended flat, and PetroChina declined 0.5%.
China's shares closed down, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both Class A and Class B shares, dropping to its lowest level in nearly six years on concerns over the impact of fund-raising activities in the market. The index fell 1% to end at 1157.97, its lowest level since it closed at 1147.71 on May 20, 1999 .
Property shares ended mixed as Shanghai Shimao dropped 6.3%, Cosco Development fell 1.1%, but Gemdale Corporation rose 0.9%, and China Vanke rose 4.4% on strong earnings. Airlines mostly fell, with China Southern Airlines declining 5.0%, China Eastern Airlines shedding 4.9%, and Shanghai Airlines falling 5.1%.
South Korean shares closed higher as program buying in the afternoon offset losses early in the session that had been triggered by a fall on Wall Street Friday, and concerns over the strong won against the U.S. dollar, said market participants. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, ended up 5.38 points, or 0.6%, at 946.17.
Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 1.6% and liquid-crystal display panel maker LG.Philips LCD climbed 2.2%. KT Freetel gained 5.1% after posting first-quarter earnings that beat market expectations, said analysts.
Taiwan shares ended slightly higher as China-related stocks received a boost from renewed speculation China could soon revalue the yuan. Hopes of improving relations between Taiwan and China, ahead of a planned trip to China by Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party leader, also lent support, traders said.
The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange finished 11.2 points, or 0.2%, higher at 5758.31 in one of the mostly lightly traded sessions in months. Transportation and auto stocks were among the biggest gainers, rising 1.7% and 1.2% overall, respectively.
Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed Monday. Dow Jones Newswires 04-25-05 0625ET Copyright (C) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.