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Asian Shares End Mixed on Profit-Taking

Reuters and CNBC.com
Monday, 22 Oct 2012 | 6:10 AM ET

Asian shares ended mixed on Monday as some regional indexes recovered from earlier losses whilst others were weighed down by dented risk sentiment from lackluster U.S. earnings and a bigger-than-expected fall in Japanese exports.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index, which measures markets across Asia, fell by 0.3 percent.

Japan's Nikkei average inched up to mark its sixth straight day of gains, as a softer yen and expectations of easing from the Bank of Japan outweighed disappointing U.S. earnings from General Electric and McDonald's.

The Nikkei rose 0.1 percent to 9,010.71, above the psychologically key 9,000 level. The broader Topix index dropped 0.1 percent to 753.72.

Sony lost 1.4 percent after the company said it will close a factory making camera lenses and mobile phones in Japan, and released further details of a plan to cut 10,000 staff by the end of March in a bid to save 30 billion yen ($379 million) a year and make up for losses in its television business.

Sharp rose as much as 11 percent, following media reports that the company will boost production capacity for its high-definition power-saving IGZO screens for ultrabook computers, in a bid to counter tablet computers from Apple and other competitors.

Mitsubishi dropped 4.5 percent to 1,366 yen after the company sliced its operating profit forecast for the year ending in March 2013 by nearly 60 percent to 140 billion yen ($1.8 billion) due to a sharper-than-expected fall in commodity prices and write-downs on marketable securities due to a weak stock market.

Komatsu dropped 2.9 percent to 1,701 yen and Hitachi Construction Machinery fell 2.7 percent to 1,354 yen after U.S. rival Caterpillar said its worldwide dealers' sales of heavy equipment in the three months through September slowed to 6 percent from 13 percent for the June-through-August period.

Japan's exports tumbled more than expected in the year to September, while manufacturers' mood hits its lowest since early 2010 in a sign a row with China is further hurting the export-reliant economy grappling with the global slowdown.

Mainland Chinese shares rose slightly, helped by strength in banking and energy large-caps as investors bet on further gains for stock markets in the run-up to the 18th Party Congress next month.

The CSI 300 f the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings ended up 0.4 percent at 2,341.59. The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong stocks closed near their 2012 high, rising on expectations of more capital inflows into the territory and growing hopes of a recovery in China's domestic markets.

The Hang Seng index ended up 0.7 percent at 21,697.6. The China Enterprises index of top locally listed mainland firms rose 0.6 percent.

Hopes of more capital inflows into Hong Kong spurred shares of local bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing(HKEX) to their best close since May 3. Shares have suffered this year as trading volumes fell and share offerings dried up. HKEx ended the day up 3.5 percent and was the most actively traded stock on the Hang Seng.

China Rongsheng shot up 14.5 percent, its biggest single-day gain since going public in November 2010, after an industry publication, Rigzone, reported that it won a new contract for a deepwater barge from a Norwegian customer.

Bucking the overall positive trend, oil major Petrochina dropped 1.3 percent on falling crude prices.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.7 percent to 4,541.

U.S. agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland has bid $2.8 billion for GrainCorp, whose shares jumped 40 percent as markets bet on a higher offer price or rival bids being flushed out.

Shares of Treasury Wine Estates losed down 7.2 percent. The world's second-largest wine company said it expected a strong recovery in its fiscal second half after it warned first-half earnings would slide 20 percent, as poor weather and higher corporate costs dragged.

The market showed little reaction to a revised 2012/13 government budget surplus of around A$1.1 billion ($1.14 billion) on Monday, down from the May forecast of A$1.5 billion.

Sundance Resources' shares gained 3 percent after Chinese firm Hanlong secured financing approval for it's $1.4 billion takeover offer.

The New Zealand market is closed for a public holiday.

South Korean shares ended slightly lower, hurt by disappointing results from U.S. firms, although attractive valuations and encouraging macro-economic data helped it pare losses.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished 0.1 percent lower at 1,941.59 points after falling as much as 1.7 percent in early trade.

Weak U.S. earnings have added to pessimism for domestic earnings.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 1 percent. The smartphone maker will announce third-quarter results on Friday.

Steelmaker POSCO and Hyundai Motor will also release third-quarter earnings this week.

South Korean builders underperformed, losing 2.7 percent, while energy providers also struggled, with refiner SK Innovation declining 2.4 percent.

Indian shares rose after strong earnings from blue chip companies such as Larsen & Toubro nd Tata Consultancy Services ifted market sentiment.

L&T shares provisionally rose 2.3 percent, while CS rose 2.3 percent.

The BSE index ose 0.58 percent, while the 50-share NSE index nded up 0.53 percent.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore's Straits Times Index lost 0.1 percent, whilst Malaysia's KL Composite fell 0.3 percent.