Asia Markets

Asia stocks mixed on China property worries, Fed; Sony sinks


Asian shares were mixed on Thursday as slowing property prices in China offset relief over the U.S. Federal Reserve's accomodative policy stance.

Chinese new home prices rose just 0.5 percent on year in August, compared with July's 2.5 percent rise, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. On a monthly basis, prices posted their fourth consecutive decline, exacerbating worries about a correction in the real-estate market on the back of declining sales and a glut of supply.

Meanwhile, U.S. investors cheered Fed chair Janet Yellen's decision to keep language that said interest rates would rise "a considerable time" after the monthly bond-buying program ended, sending the Dow to a record high overnight. Most noticeably, the Fed also projected a faster pace of rate hikes. For the end of 2015, the median forecast was 1.375 percent versus 1.125 percent in June.

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"A very muddled picture has been created from the language in the statement. Growth has lowered, the unemployment rate is improving, inflation is stagnating and rates are rising; it is the final point the currency and bond market has latched onto," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, in a note.

Nikkei 1.3% higher

Japan's benchmark Nikkei rose to a new eight-month high, snapping a two-day losing streak, as the yen weakened to a fresh six-year low against the dollar.

Export data released before the market open also helped to boost sentiment; exports fell by a smaller-than-expected 1.3 percent on year in August.

Sony closed nearly 9 percent lower after the electronics giant said that it expects to post a net loss of more than $2 billion this fiscal year, nearly five times larger than initially forecast.

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Chinese new home prices slow in August

Shanghai gains 0.3%

Mainland shares rose for a second session but gains on the benchmark Shanghai Composite index were capped by real-estate developers following the weak August home price data. Gemdale lost 3 percent while Poly Real Estate and China Merchants Property declined nearly 1 percent each.

Investors also reacted to comments from a member of the central bank's policy committee, who said that China doesn't need strong stimulus as long as growth is within the government's range.

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Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1 percent, giving up all of Wednesday's gains.

ASX up 0.1%

Australia's benchmark erased earlier losses in a choppy session, rebounding from a more than two-month low and snapping a six-day losing streak.

Gold miners suffered heavy losses as bullion prices dropped to an eight-and-a-half month low. Kingsgate Consolidated slumped 3.6 percent and Alacer Gold slid over 6 percent.

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Kospi slides 0.8%

South Korean shares retreated after finishing at a two-week high in the previous session.

Hyundai Motor Group shares tumbled after the firm bid $10 billion for a plot of land in Seoul's Gangnam district. Hyundai Motor tumbled over 9 percent while Kia Motors shed 8 percent.