Asian stocks mixed Tuesday as fresh fears about the outlook for the U.S. economy offset healthy profits and orders at firms in the region, while the yen firmed as investors trimmed exposure to riskier assets.
Some Bank of Japan policy board members expressed concern in early July about the risks of U.S. subprime mortgage problems spilling over to global financial markets, minutes of the BOJ's July 11-12 meeting showed on Tuesday.
Asian stocks were stronger in the afternoon session Monday with markets taking cues from a Wall Street rally triggered by surprisingly strong economic data, while the Japanese yen weakened against the U.S. dollar as risk appetite strengthened.
The 2.3% rise in the Dow last week, coupled with lower volume and lower volatility, has given the markets what it wants mosts: time. Time allows market participants to readjust risk. JP Morgan, in a note to clients this morning, said "The key issue for the months ahead will be to figure out the impact of tighter credit conditions on economic growth."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked veteran lawmakers for key posts in a reshuffled cabinet on Monday, but analysts questioned how much the changes would restore his popularity after last month's huge election defeat.
Asian stocks led by finance counters, were lower across the board in the afternoon session Friday, on concerns that problems in the U.S. housing and credit markets could push the world's biggest economy into recession. Australia, Japan and South Korea all closed down.
The Bank of Japan left its key policy rate unchanged for the sixth month running on Thursday, as expected in the wake of a global markets shake-out, with the focus now on how long it will delay its next hike.
Japan's trade surplus fell for the first time in nine months in July, prompting concerns about the outlook for the country's exports amid worries over a slowdown in the U.S. economy due to rising U.S. mortgage defaults.
Shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Macquarie Bank and other large banks in Asia tumbled on Wednesday, hit by renewed concern about their exposure to the high-risk U.S. subprime mortgage market and turmoil in global credit markets.
Global investment firm Blackstone Group is opening a real estate office in Tokyo to hunt for deals in Japan's booming property market, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Nikko Cordial, the Japanese unit of Citigroup, said it was not looking to sell its merchant banking unit, denying a report that it was in talks with Japan's Norinchukin Bank about a potential $3.4 billion deal.
Amid the headlines this weekend about Cerberus closing the Chrysler deal and shaking up management at the automaker, one piece of news came out that blew me away. In the second quarter, Toyota posted a record profit of $4.13 billion dollars. Sounds staggering by itself until you look at it this way: every day last quarter Toyota made more than 44 million dollars. Almost 2 million dollars a day!
Sharp said on Monday it filed a U.S. lawsuit accusing Samsung Electronics of infringing Sharp's LCD patents, the latest in a series of legal tussles among Asian technology companies.
On a regular basis, I hear from bloggers who think I'm pushing Toyota and would like nothing more than to see the Big 3 implode. In fact, I got an e-mail to that effect yesterday after blogging about the possibility of Chevy and Ford being outsold by the Toyota brand. For the record, Toyota has passed Ford, but still trails Chevy by a slight margin.
Investors are sure to keep one eye on the debt markets and the other on the foreign exchange as a cycle of rising risk aversion in the U.S. spurs an unwinding of the Japanese yen carry trade, which in turn sucks money away from global stock markets.
The dollar dropped to a 3-month low Thursday, as investors spooked by growing problems in credit markets fled risky assets financed by borrowing in the low-yielding Japanese currency.
Sony said on Thursday its quarterly profit more than trebled after strong digital camera sales and a softer yen far outstripped losses at its game unit.
The dollar jumped broadly Wednesday in a technical rebound from record lows against the euro, shrugging off fresh signs of deterioration in the U.S. housing sector.
Nissan Motor, Japan's third-largest automaker, posted a 3.2% drop in quarterly operating profit as a worsening product mix favoring smaller, cheaper cars hit margins, and kept its full-year forecasts unchanged despite the weaker yen.
The dollar fell to a 15-year low against a basket of major currencies and a record low against the euro Tuesday, hurt by the potential for credit woes and housing market weakness to weigh on the U.S. economy.