Asia-Pacific Markets

Asia Ends Mixed Ahead of US Jobs Data

CNBC with wires

Asian stock markets ended mixed Friday, as Sydney fell 1.5 percent while Shanghai gained 1.6 percent.

The mood was cautious as investors eyed tonight's US monthly jobs data, after a surprised contraction in the U.S services sector raised concerns about the recovery.

Japan's Nikkei stock average closed above 10,000 points for the first time in five weeks and rose 10.4 percent on the week, its biggest weekly gain in over a year.

The benchmark index edged up 0.4 percent after drifting in and out of positive territory for the day to close at 10,022.59 points. For the week, the index gained nearly 1,000 points in active trade, snapping a five-week losing streak thanks to a wave of short-covering supported by foreign investors.

Sustaining gains above 10,000 could be difficult, with analysts saying investors were waiting to see what sort of economic policy the government might adopt as it discusses the size of a fresh stimulus package.

The Bank of Japan said on Tuesday it would offer around 10 trillion yen ($113.3 billion) in three-month funds at 0.1 percent and keep its key interest rate steady at 0.1 percent. It had surprised investors by calling an emergency policy meeting in the face of government pressure to do more to beat deflation.

The broader Topix inched up 0.2 percent to 889.58.

Takefuji Corp underperformed the broader market, diving 9.4 percent on news it had slashed lending to save cash after credit rating downgrades made it difficult for the Japanese consumer lender to raise funds.

Exporters such as Canon and TDK gained more than 2 percent. Sony rose 1.4 percent to 2,510 yen, helped in part on signs of robust early holiday demand for its products.

Toyota Motor shed 0.8 percent to 3,730 yen and chip-tester maker Advantest fell 0.5 percent to 2,100 yen. But Honda Motor, negative during early trade, gained 1.5 percent to 3,030 yen.

Japan Tobacco rose 2.7 percent after Credit Suisse raised its rating to "outperform" from "neutral" saying the risk of a sharp tobacco tax increase had receded and incremental hikes could be positive for the company.

Japan Airlines surged 8.7 percent to 100 yen, its highest level in two weeks, after American Airlines said it and other members of the Oneworld airline alliance along with private equity fund TPG are willing to invest $1.1 billion in JAL to prevent it defecting to Delta Air Lines and the rival Skyteam group.

Australian stocks fell 1.5 percent on Friday, weighed down by miners and banks as investors
moved to the sidelines awaiting the key U.S. employment report for clues on the pace of economic recovery.

Top miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto dragged, ending 2.5 percent and 2.3 percent lower respectively ahead of an expected agreement on final terms for their planned iron ore joint venture.

Analysts said the November U.S. payrolls data would dictate the tone for risky assets in the coming week.

"The employment stakes were trending the right way for the  U.S., but there are concerns that as unemployment mounts, sales will be affected going into this all-important holiday season," said St George Bank market analyst Simon Mariner.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 72.4 points to 4,702.2.  For the week, the index was still up 2.8 percent.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.2 percent to 3,146.5.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia lost 0.3 percent, less than its peers, after saying it would raise mortgage rates by more than the central bank's official move, as did rival Westpac.

China-linked Dragon Energy shares surged 23.8 percent to A$0.26 after the explorer said it had acquired three iron ore projects from Polaris Metals, part of an ongoing consolidation among iron ore prospectors.

Running against the weaker trend were Whitehaven Coal, which rose 4.3 percent and, up 4.1 percent, on news both would be included in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

Seoul Climbs 0.6%

Seoul shares ended higher, buoyed by positive domestic economic data and gains in shipyards
and technology issues.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.6 percent at 1,624.76 points, posting a 6.6 percent rise on the week after five uninterrupted gaining sessions.

"Markets have now rebounded to their 60-day moving average, fully recuperating from the Dubai debt shock last week. The inflow of foreign capital comes as a positive sign," said Kwak
Joong-bo, a market analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities.

Foreign investors were buyers for a fifth consecutive session, picking up a net 216.8 billion won ($188.3 million) worth of stocks.

Sentiment also improved after data showed South Korea's economy grew faster than initially estimated in the third quarter on upbeat industrial output.

Shares in Daewoo Shipbuilding jumped 5.4 percent after the world's No.2 shipbuilder said on Friday the value of its latest ship order from Germany could rise to $450 million,
including an option.

The order news also boosted shares in other shipyards, lifting Samsung Heavy Industries by 2.53 percent and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard by 2.96 percent.

LG Electronics rose 2.67 percent, up for a third consecutive session and following an 8
percent jump in the previous session.

Airlines rose on growing expectations that the sector is headed for a pick up following an extended industry downturn. Korean Air Line rose 5.29 percent and Asiana Airlines advanced 4.54 percent.

HK Pares Losses, Shanghai Up

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.3 percent at the close, ending four straight gaining sessions of gains.

Brilliance China Automotive lost 6.5 percent after it said its controlling shareholder, Hauchen, sold 500 million shares in the company at HK$2.25 to raise $145 million.  

Henderson Land declined 2.73 percent to HK$58.90 after the stock jumped more than 6 percent to close near a 19-month high in the previous session. Its chairman Lee Shau-kee said the group plans to invest HK$25 billion ($3.23 billion) on development in coming months, expecting another 10 percent rise next year in Hong Kong home prices, according to a media report.

Gold counters also fell, after the metal price came off its record high the previous day. Sino Gold Mining fell 4.6 percent to HK$57.70, Zijin Mining lost 1.5 percent to HK$8.74, and Realgold Mining was down 1.4 percent to HK$14.52.

Futong Technology Development, a distributor of enterprise information technology products in China, rose as high as HK$2.25 on its trading debut, up 38 percent from their issue price of HK$1.63, before steadying at HK$2.00.

Chinese car and battery maker BYD gained 1.5 percent to HK$75.8. BYD has received 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in credit from the Bank of China, the bank said on Thursday.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.6 percent, on course for a weekly gain of 7 percent, which would also be its best showing since March on signs of a solid economic recovery and
steady policy.

Next week's central economic working conference, which will set the tone for China's economic policy next year, is expected to indicate a continuation of existing policy while November data
due for release next Friday is likely to point to steady economic recovery, which could fuel mild gains for the index.

Bank shares led the rise, with China CITIC Bank surging 9.68 percent to 7.25 yuan after saying that Spain's second-largest bank BBVA upped its stake in the lender's Hong Kong-listed H shares.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's biggest lender, climbed 1.9 percent to 5.36 yuan.

Datang Huayin Electric Power, a subsidiary of China Datang Corp, gained 2.08 percent after saying it had decided to scrap plans for a coal-to-natural-gas project in Inner Mongolia worth 17.4 billion yuan, after a preliminary study found the project would not be very profitable.

Taipei Slips Ahead of Local Election

Taiwan stocks fell 0.44 percent as jitters over the upcoming local elections triggered selling in financial shares.

The TAIEX index finished down 33.76 points at 7,650.91, ending a four-session winning streak.

Cathay Financial shares slipped 0.34 percent, pulling the broader financial sub-index down 1.08 percent.

Other financial players such as Chinatrust and Fubon Financial fell more than 1 percent.

Turnover was flat before the island's voters elect local city mayors and county magistrates on

"Investors do not want to take risks with the results of the upcoming election tomorrow," said Kevin Chung, an analyst with Jih Sun Investment Consulting.

Shares of major technology exporters also weakened as a Wall Street slide raised concerns about the sustainability of the U.S. economic recovery.

AU Optronics, the world's No. 3 flat panel maker, fell 1.45 percent. Smartphone maker HTC dropped 2.33 percent.

Motech Industries, Taiwan's top solar cell maker, jumped 4.45 percent to T$140.7 after a local newspaper cited market speculation that TSMC was close to sealing a deal to acquire Motech at T$150 per share.

TSMC shares ended unchanged. The world's biggest contract chip maker gave a better sales growth forecast for the global chip market next year after the market closed.

Markets in Singapore and Malaysia traded in negative territory. The STI fell 0.6 percent and the KLCI nudged 0.2 percent lower.

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