Asian Stocks Mostly Lower in Quiet Trade
This is a transcript of top stories presented by China's CCTV Business Channel as produced by CNBC Asia Pacific.
Good evening to all of our viewers across China.
I'm Saijal Patel from CNBC and you're watching "Asia Market Daily".
Let's kick off with a look at how some of the Asian markets fared today.
Down in Australia, the ASX 200 finished the session up 2-tenths of a percent thanks to gains from resource stocks. Mining giant Rio Tinto was a stand out, closing at a five month high on the back of strong metals prices.
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index was fairly flat in late trade, while the Thai market was in positive territory.
There was bad news though for Thai telecom investors. The Thai central administrative court has backed an injunction issued by a lower court which blocked the 3G license auction. The court agreed with the previous decision that a new regulatory body must first be established before the introduction of 3G can go ahead. The case could now go to the Constitutional court for a final decision.
Across the region, it's been pretty quiet, with financial markets in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei all closed for a public holiday. The lead from Wall Street wasn't too impressive either as US indices failed to extend their 5-day winning streak.
Investors still favoring the safety of commodities amid all this talk of the need to inject more firepower into the US economy. The price of gold has shot up to a new record high... and some economists say now might be a good time to book profits.
(SOT) Mathew Kaleel, co-founder & portfolio manager, H3 Global Advisors:
"If you're held gold for some time, you'd be looking at potentially taking some short term profits. If you're exposed to gold shares. Gold shares have moved significantly more than the gold price. They've had such a good run. You know. We've seen a steady increase in gold. The last few weeks gold stocks globally have done much more than that. It's almost been an exponential increase to the point where you may want to look at taking some short term profits."
Speaking of gains... and Hong Kong has scored third place, in a ranking of the world's top financial centers. The city has come in just behind New York, while London remains number one, on the Global Financial centers Index. Singapore is placed fourth, followed by Tokyo and Shanghai. The index is based on a survey of professionals and the criteria includes business environment, market access and infrastructure.
Still on Asia, debate about the Yuan has intensified. US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned it's time for Congress to act on the situation. Her call for action followed a decision by the House Ways and Means Committee to meet on Friday, to vote on legislation to pressure China to revalue its currency. The full House is expected to vote on the measure next week.
(SOT) Chong Yoon-Chou, Investment Director, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Limited:
"China has set the trend. They said the currency will rise. They just never put a word on how fast and how quick it will rise, and the Americans are more go-getters. And politically they're pressured, or at least President Obama is, to show that they are doing something. At the moment I think the confidence still lies with China rather than the US. And... President Wen does have his, his statement does make some sense. It's just not the currency alone. It's also what's happening in the respective countries, buying too much goods that they can't afford."
Despite tensions over the Yuan, Washington is trying to patch up its military relationship with Beijing. A top-level Pentagon official will visit the Chinese capital next week in an attempt to re-establish military ties. China froze defense dialogue with the US in January over an arms sale to Taiwan... even snubbing a visit from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Speaking to business leaders in New York, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China and the U.S. are "inextricably linked" and that current differences between the countries are "very easy to resolve".
And China will be keeping a close eye on Potash's dramatic efforts to fend off a hostile takeover offer from BHP Billiton. The world's biggest fertilizer maker is suing the Aussie miner for misrepresentation and fraud relating to its 39 billion dollar offer.
Potash lodged a complaint in the US Federal Court overnight, arguing the hostile bid is based on a false and misleading statement. But BHP isn't backing down, vowing to "vigorously" fight the claim. Todd Horwitz of Adam Mesh Trading Group says the move is unlikely to result in BHP sweetening its offer.
(SOT) Todd Horwitz, chief strategist, Adam Mesh Trading Group:
"This deal has been in play for a couple of months now, and the original bid was in the 130 to 140 range. Potash ran up to the 150 range and its been frozen here. There's been no white knight coming in to sweeten the pot. I think that BHP is going to hold fast here because I don't see a reason, there's nobody in to bid it up. Now obviously Potash still has that poison pill that they can use to not have the hostile takeover but I believe that there's no reason for them to sweeten the pot right now with the current economic times."
That wraps up all the day's business news.
I'm Saijal Patel from CNBC.. enjoy your night.
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