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Asia Ends Lower as US Snaps Winning Streak

CNBC with wires
Friday, 13 Nov 2009 | 5:14 AM ET

Stock markets in Asia finished mostly lower Friday after shares on Wall Street snapped a six-day winning streak. China markets, however, managed to buck the downtrend.

Japan's Nikkei Average was weighed down by selling of smelters after non-ferrous metals prices fell, with concerns about consumer spending and Wall Street's performance leading to broad selling.

But buying of a range of defensive shares such as seafood company Nippon Suisan, which surged after a brokerage upgrade, kept the fall in check. A brokerage upgrade also boosted
Sharp Corp.

Banks edged up, with Mizuho Financial Group up 1.7 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group up 0.6 percent, ahead of their earnings which came after the close.

Activity waned as attention turned to struggling Japan Airlines and megabanks Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, all of which announce results after the close.

Nippon Yusen fell 3.5 percent to 303 yen and Kawasaki Kisen K.K. lost 3.9 percent to 298 yen. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines lost 1.1 percent to 526 yen.

Shares of nonferrous metals smelters, such as Toho Zinc and Dowa Holdings, fell after industrial metals prices dropped on Thursday due to a slight rebound in the U.S. dollar and growing concerns about demand weakness after inventories of the metals rose.

The Nikkei lost 0.2 percent on the week for its third straight week of losses, the first such negative stretch since the three weeks end October 2.

Seoul Trims Earlier Losses

Seoul shares trimmed losses by the close, with declines in LG Electronics and Samsung SDI on concerns over consumer spending offset by an advance by LG Display.

Trade stayed in a narrow range, with data that showed a decline in South Korea's household income in the third quarter painting a bleak outlook for domestic demand, following the cautious outlook from Wal-Mart Stores.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index ended down 0.05 percent at 1,571.99 points. It moved only slightly on the week, but was off 8.8 percent from its 15-month peak reached in late September.

Shares in flat-screen maker LG Display rose 3.9 percent to 30,750 won ($26.5), its highest close in almost three weeks after JPMorgan raised the target price to 40,000 won and its recommendation to 'overweight'.

By contrast, LG Electronics, the world's second-biggest TV brand, slid 3.8 percent on worries about a possible slowdown in the U.S. market. Shares in Samsung SDI, a rechargeable battery maker, lost 3.9 percent.

Australia Down as Resources Pull Back

Australian shares fell 0.9 percent, weighed down by weaker resources stocks after
a pullback in commodities prices, though retailer Kathmandu Holdings flourished on its first day of trade.

Traders attributed the weaker session to profit-taking after recent solid gains made on expectations that government stimulus will continue to support the global economic recovery.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 41.5 points to 4,706.4. For the week, the index rose 2.4 percent.

The star performer on Friday was Australasian retailer Kathmandu, whose shares climbed as much as 7 percent on their first day of trade, in a sign that keenly priced IPOs can succeed
in fragile markets.

Among the top miners, mining giant BHP Billiton fell 1.4 percent to A$39.01 and Rio Tinto lost 0.5 percent to A$69.52.

Shares in gold miners suffered after a pullback in bullion prices, with Newcrest Mining losing 2.8 percent to A$34.57 and Lihir Gold giving up 2.3 percent to A$3.36.

Top lender National Australia Bank weighed on the benchmark index, losing 4 percent to A$28.89 as it traded without the rights to its dividend.

China Defies Broader Decline

China's key stock index edged up 0.46 percent on Friday, boosted by the upbeat outlook for the economy and company earnings, while foreign currency-denominated B shares jumped to an 18-month high.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended at 3,187,647 points, posting a 0.7 percent weekly gain.

Gaining Shanghai A shares outnumbered losers by 601 to 270 while turnover edged up to 163 billion yuan ($23.88 billion) from Wednesday's 144 billion yuan.

The Shanghai U.S. dollar-denominated B-share index ended up 9.42 percent at 251.192 points, nearly rising by its 10 percent daily limit.

Share prices and trading volume soared on the much smaller B share market, as expectations mounted for renewed yuan appreciation against the dollar, analysts said.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.7 percent higher.

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