|Page (1) of 1 - 08/31/11||email article||print page|
Asian stocks markets mixed after data shows falling US, EU confidence
BANGKOK (AP) ' Asian shares searched for direction Wednesday as investors weighed slumping consumer and business confidence in developed economies against a session of gains on Wall Street fueled by bargain-hunting.
Oil prices edged lower toward $88 a barrel after the drop in sentiment suggested growth was likely to slow further in coming months.
After four days of gains, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent at 8,918.50. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 4,268.70. Shares were also lower in mainland China, New Zealand and Taiwan.
But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent to 20,262.99 and South Korea's Kospi index was 0.4 percent higher at 1,850.56. Benchmarks in the Philippines and Singapore also rose.
A persistently strong yen continued to place a drag on Japan's powerhouse export sector, particularly consumer electronics. Panasonic Corp. lost 2.3 percent, Sony Corp. fell 1.7 percent and Toshiba Corp. dropped 1.8 percent. Copier maker Ricoh Co. lost 0.7 percent.
Sentiment in Japan was dampened after growth in Japan's industrial production fell far short of forecasts in July.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday that industrial production edged up 0.6 percent from the previous month. The ministry had projected a 2.2 percent rise.
Sectors that fueled the improvement included transport equipment and general machinery. Komatsu Ltd., a world leader in equipment making, rose 0.4 percent.
In Europe on Tuesday, stocks were hurt by a report showing consumer and business sentiment in the 17 country eurozone was souring due to uncertainties about the future of the global economic recovery and the region's festering debt crisis.
Wall Street, though, traded higher despite a survey showing a slump in consumer confidence in the U.S., as investors took the opportunity to buy into what they considered cheap stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to close at 11,559.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.2 percent to 1,212.92. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.6 percent to 2,576.11.
In currencies, the euro dropped to $1.4426 from $1.4447 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar was lower against Japan's currency, at 76.62 yen from 76.72 yen.
Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 45 cents to $88.45 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose $1.63 to settle at $88.90 on Tuesday.
In London, Brent crude for October delivery was down 5 cents at $113.97 on the ICE Futures exchange.