Asia Markets

Asia stocks end quiet session on a mixed note


Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday amid hopes for fresh European stimulus while new data reinforced expectations for tighter U.S. monetary policy.

The euro traded above the $1.06 handle, rebounding after hitting a seven-and-a-half month low of $1.0565 overnight, amid reports on Wednesday that European Central Bank (ECB) officials are considering unconventional easing measures, such as introducing a two tiered deposit rate, Reuters reported.

"According to the report, large depositors would be charged more than small depositors. This plan isn't likely to receive much support from Germany and France whose banks widely use the ECB's facility. However it is clear from today's price action that while investors have considered more stimulus, they have not considered how aggressive or creative they will be," said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management.

Those stimulus expectations saw the STOXX Europe 600 rally 1.3 percent and the German DAX close up more than 2 percent overnight.

Meanwhile, positive data on U.S. personal income, durable goods orders and weekly jobless claims released on Wednesday will likely boost the Federal Reserve's resolve to hike interest rates next month, analysts said. U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed in low volume trade following the data deluge. Wall Street will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and the stock market closes at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

Hong Kong flat

The Hang Seng Index entered negative territory in afternoon trade after rallying as much as 1 percent earlier amid reports that the Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect could be launched by the second-quarter of next year.

Blue-chips were mixed, with HSBC 0.6 percent higher while Hong Kong Exchanges dipped 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite ended 0.3 percent lower in quiet trade, erasing earlier gains. News on Wednesday that Beijing announced fresh policies aimed at boosting foreign trade, such as lowering costs for importers and exporters, failed to boost sentiment.

Citic Securities eased 1 percent after the securities association accusing the brokerage of overstating its derivatives business by more than $166 billion. Other brokerages also declined, with Everbright and Haitong Securities 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent lower respectively.

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Nikkei adds 0.5%

Japan's index closed in sight of 20,000 points, but the market showed little reaction to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement on Thursday that corporate taxes may be cut by more than planned next fiscal year.

Apple suppliers Japan Display and Minebea slumped more than 7 percent each on reports that Apple plans to introduce organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for iPhones.

Automakers Honda Motor, Nissan and Toyota Motor rallied more than 1 percent each.

In a report on Wednesday, the government lowered its assessment of November capital expenditure for the first time in a year, citing "pockets of weakness" in the overall economy.

ASX 0.3% higher

Australian shares pared gains after rallying as much as 1 percent but still managed to rebound from Wednesday's losses thanks to a rally among financials. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, AMP and Westpac led gains by more than 1 percent each following a previous session of profit-taking.

BHP Billiton lost nearly 4 percent after mud from the miner's recent dam burst in Brazil was deemed toxic by the United Nations' human rights agency on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar eased as much as 0.4 percent after domestic business investment slumped by the most on record last quarter, declining by a worse-than-expected 9.2 percent.

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Kospi up 1%

South Korean shares ended above 2,000 points after November consumer sentiment shot to a 14-month high, according to central bank data released before the market open.

Large-cap stocks led the gains, with Samsung Electronics nearly 3 percent higher while Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors added 0.7 percent each.

PSI flat

Philippine stocks were little changed around 7,063 points after third-quarter gross domestic product expanded 6 percent on year following a revised reading of 5.8 percent in the previous quarter.