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Asia Mostly Higher, Japan Falls After BOJ Eases

Reuters and CNBC.com
Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 | 6:06 AM ET

Asian shares were mostly higher on Tuesday but the Japanese market reacted negatively after its central bank announced it would increase their asset purchase program. Meanwhile, investor momentum remained curbed by a giant, powerful storm that shut U.S. markets overnight.

The FTSE CNBC Asia 100 Index, which measures markets across Asia, inched up 0.1 percent.

Japanese shares fell 1 percent to a two-week closing low after the Bank of Japan eased monetary policy by increasing the size of its asset buying and lending programme by 11 trillion yen ($138 billion), largely as expected.

The Nikkei Nikkei closed down 87.36 points at 8,841.98 after trading 0.4 percent higher on the day before the BOJ announcement, which came shortly before the market close. Tuesday's fall took the index below its 25-day moving average at 8,843.70.

The broader Topix lost 0.9 percent to 733.46.

Nomura advanced 2.5 percent after it posted its fourth straight quarterly profit as an upswing in its fixed income operations helped it counter weak equity markets and the fallout from an insider trading probe.

Sharp climbed 5.6 percent after the Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying that the struggling TV maker had entered into talks with Apple, Google and Microsoft to provide the three U.S. companies with its IGZO displays.

It was the second-most traded stock on the main board by turnover.

Honda Motor slipped 0.5 percent, extending the previous session's 4.7 percent decline after it cut its full-year net profit forecast by a fifth due to slowing sales in China over a territorial dispute. It was the most traded stock.

Rival Nissan Motor, which has larger exposure to China than Honda, eased 0.8 percent.

Other gainers included Keyence Corp, hich jumped 6.9 percent as analysts expected the maker of detection devices and measuring control equipment to post strong full-year earnings after it reported its first quarter results ended September.

Overall, this quarterly earnings season has been weak so far, with 63 percent of the 27 Nikkei companies that have reported undershooting market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compared with 54 percent in the previous quarter.

Mainland China shares eked out their first gain in about a week, led by property firms after the second-largest player in the sector by market cap, Poly Real Estate, posted strong third-quarter earnings.

The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 0.2 percent at 2,239.9, its first daily gain in six days. The Shanghai Composite Index also edged up 0.2 percent, its first gain in four days.

Hong Kong shares sank to their lowest in almost two weeks, with local developers extending losses in the wake of fresh curbs on real estate purchases in the territory.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.4 percent at 21,428.6, their third-straight day of losses, pushing the benchmark to its lowest close since Oct. 17. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.8 percent.

New World Developments led weakness in the Hong Kong property sector, shedding a further 2.8 percent after sinking 6.4 percent on Monday. But it is still up 87 percent on the year, compared to the 16 percent rise on the Hang Seng Index.

The Hong Kong government late on Friday imposed a 15 percent tax on foreign and corporate real estate buyers and stiffened the resale stamp duty fees in the hope of calming the city's property prices, which have surpassed historical highs hit in 1997.

Shares of Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD slumped 4.1 percent after posting a 94 percent slide in third-quarter net profit due to a slumping domestic market and its money-losing solar energy business.

Australian shares nudged up as investors bought into defensive sectors, though the market lacked broad direction with Wall Street closed for at least two days due to powerful storm Sandy.

Shares in Virgin Australia jumped 5.4 percent after the country's No. 2 airline said Singapore Airlines would buy a 10 percent stake for A$105 million ($108 million), helping it to vie with Qantas Airways.

A separate plan by Virgin to buy regional carrier Skywest sent the smaller airline's shares surging 57 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 8.8 points to close at 4,485.7, building on a gain of 0.1 percent on Monday. The broader market is down 2 percent from a 15-month high hit earlier this month

Australia's leading biopharmaceutical producer, CSL, rose 0.5 percent. Phone company Telstra gained 1.0 percent.

Major banks rose, led by a 0.9 percent rise in Commonwealth Bank of Australia. BA said at its annual general meeting on Tuesday that it expected demand for credit to remain subdued and it would retain its conservative business settings.

Shares in rural services company Elders collapsed 22 percent to A$0.19 in heavy volume about 10 times an average session, one day after saying it plans to put its main business up for sale.

Shares in casino operator Crown eased 0.5 percent. Chairman James Packer told the annual shareholders' meeting Crown was set to take advantage of growing Chinese tourism by upgrading its facilities.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index lost 10 points to 3,941.3.

South Korean shares inched higher as bargain buying by local institutions buttressed large caps, with automakers thetop beneficiaries.

Shares in Kia Motors rose 2.3 percent, helped by a ratings upgrade from Moody's, which also upgraded sibling Hyundai Motor on Tuesday. Hyundai Motor shares closed up 2.5 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed up 0.43 percent at 1,899.58 points, edging out of the seven-week low zone, struck on Friday.

Korea Aerospace Industries said that it has been selected as the preferred bidder to participate in the development of military unmanned surveillance planes. Shares of the company recovered from early fall and were up 3.7 percent.

Pharmaceutical companies were among the day's top gainers, as investors spied potential takeover targets in the rapidly consolidating industry.

Keunwha Pharmaceutical nd Hondok Pharmaceutical both rose close to the daily ceiling of 15 percent.

In the currency market, South Korean authorities plan to inspect banks dealing operations in the country from next week, a senior finance ministry official said on Tuesday, a move seen as aimed at curbing the won's strength.

In India, both the BSE Index and the 50-share NSE index ell more than 1 percent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index advanced by 0.3 percent, whilst Malaysia's KL Composite Index rose 0.1 percent.


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