Asian Shares Close Mixed Despite Strong China GDP Data

CANBERA (Alliance News) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday even as upbeat Chinese economic ...

Alliance News 17 April, 2019 | 9:54AM
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CANBERA (Alliance News) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday even as upbeat Chinese economic data helped ease worries about a global economic slowdown.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index gained 9.52 points, or 0.29%, to finish at 3,263.12, its highest close since March 21, 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended little changed at 30,124.68.

China's GDP grew an annual 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019 - unchanged from fourth quarter and beating forecasts for 6.3%.

Retail sales climbed 8.7% year-on-year in March - beating expectations for an increase of 8.4% and up from 8.2% in February.

Fixed asset investment rose 6.3%, in line with expectations and up from 6.1% in the previous month.

Japanese shares rose for a fifth straight session as the yen held largely flat and Chinese GDP data topped forecasts.

Closer home, a government report showed that Japanese exports fell an annual 2.4% in March, beating expectations for a decline of 2.6% following the 1.2% drop in the previous month.

The Nikkei average rose 56.31 points or 0.25% to 22,277.97, while the broader Topix index closed 0.26% higher at 1,630.68.

China-related Komatsu gained 1.9% while exporters Honda Motor and Toyota climbed 1-2%. In the tech sector, Chip equipment maker Advantest surged as much as 5.5%.

Nippon Paint Holdings lost 3.6% after the paint company made a AUD3.8 billion acquisition proposal for Australian paint and homeware company DuluxGroup.

Australian markets ended modestly lower as mining giant BHP slashed its FY19 iron ore production guidance. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 21 points or 0.33% to 6,256.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 22 points or 0.35% at 6,350.30.

BHP tumbled 2.7% as it reported declines in petroleum, iron ore, and metallurgical coal production during the third quarter. Rio Tinto slumped 4.7 and smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group plunged 8.3% after iron ore prices weakened overnight.

DuluxGroup soared 27% after its board unanimously backed a AUD3.8bn ($2.7bn) takeover bid from Japan's Nippon Paint. Telstra rallied 2.1% on a brokerage upgrade.

Gold miners Newcrest and Evolution dropped 1-2% after gold prices fell more than 1% overnight.

The big four banks rose between 0.8% and 1.5%. Oil & gas producer Santos gained 0.6% after it posted record Q1 production.

Seoul stocks paused for breath after rising for 13 consecutive sessions. The benchmark Kospi inched down 2.74 points or 0.12% to 2,245.89.

Asiana Airlines slumped 15.7% on profit taking after recent strong gains on news that its parent will sell shares in the country's No. 2 air carrier.

Automakers surged, with Hyundai Motor, Kia Motor and Hyundai Mobis adding 1-2%.

New Zealand shares hit a new record, with retirement village operators rallying after the government said it would not proceed with a proposal for a capital gains tax.

Summerset Group Holdings jumped 3.9% and Metlifecare advanced 3.8% while the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 73.85 points or 0.75% to 9,982.24.

Singapore's Straits Times index was rising 0.4%, shrugging off weak export data for March.

Overnight, US stocks fluctuated before finishing modestly higher after a string of mostly positive earnings and mixed economic data.

The Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose around 0.3% to end at their best closing levels in over six months while the S&P 500 inched up marginally.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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