Asian Markets Close Lower on Profit Taking
Asian stocks ended the week in negative territory, pulling back from record highs after a weeklong rally.
The Hang Seng Index skidded past the 29,000 mark, falling 1% to close at 28,838, while the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.17% to end at 5,903, after briefly hitting a record intraday high of 5,959.
But that didn't stop investors from picking up PetroChina's H-shares. The stock jumped more than 8% to a record high Friday at HK$16.82 on the back of higher oil prices. This also followed news Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway continued to cut its stake in the oil and gas producer to 3.1%.
In Japan, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Average fell nearly 1% at the finish line as investors dumped Fast Retailing a day after the clothing retailer reported a bigger-than-expected, 29% fall in quarterly profit. But Sanyo Electric climbed after reaching a basic agreement to sell its unprofitable mobile phone business to Kyocera.
South Korea's KOSPI retreated from a record, to end lower by 1.57% as technology stocks tracked U.S. peers on concerns about profits.
But Samsung Electronics was up as much as 2% despite lukewarm earnings results. The world's top memory chipmaker said quarterly profits remained flat as sluggish computer memory chip prices offset booming sales of flat screens. While analysts do not expect meaningful improvement in chip prices before the middle of next year, Samsung, also the world's top maker of large-size LCD screens, should continue to reap hefty profits from its flat screen division on tight supplies and surging demand for sleek computer monitors and TVs.
Australian shares were lower, ending a five-session winning streak, with recent strong gainers such as the banks falling on concerns that valuations were looking expensive. The S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.34% to close at 6,7487. However, resource firms, led by BHP Billiton, continued to advance on firmer metal prices, capping losses in the market.
Singapore's Straits Times Index was lower by 0.5% with banks such as DBS Group and OCBC weighing on the market.