Asia mostly down; Shanghai retreats
(Baystreet Foreign Markets Wrap (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
Asian markets ended mostly lower after a choppy session Thursday, with mainland Chinese stocks extending losses from recent highs as investors locked in gains ahead of key economic growth data due on Friday.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index recovered 9.20 points, or 0.1%, to 10,609.64
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 17.23 points, or 0.1%, to 23,339.76
Over in Hong Kong, property stocks weakened, with China Resources Land Ltd. losing 1.7%, while Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. sank 7.1% after announcing a plan to raise around $559 million U.S. by selling shares.
While banks traded broadly lower in Hong Kong on Thursday, global banking major HSBC Holdings PLC bucked the trend to rise 1% after some solid results from U.S. rivals on Wednesday.
In Tokyo, exporters under pressure included Olympus Corp. losing 0.9%, Advantest Corp. off 0.8%, and Mazda Motor Corp. tumbling 2%.
Renesas Electronics Corp. lost 1.7% after reports that the chip maker proposed to cut more than 3,000 jobs in discussions with its labour union.
Some blue-chip exporters managed to gain, however, including Sony Corp., which jumped 5.7% after an upgrade to neutral at Goldman Sachs.
Sharp Corp. surged 7.3% following a report in the Nikkei business daily that the consumer-electronics group was discussing a television partnership with Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. Lenovo shares dropped 1.2% in Hong Kong.
Sharp later said that no decision has been made on its China TV business
After the close of U.S. trading Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would ground all U.S.-registered Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner planes, pending checks on whether the jets' batteries are safe.
The FAA decision followed Wednesday's emergency landing in southern Japan by an All Nippon Airways Co.-operated 787 Dreamliner. ANA grounded its fleet of 17 Dreamliners on Wednesday after the incident, and its shares lost another 0.6%.
Rival Japan Airlines Co., which has five 787 Dreamliners in its fleet, rose 0.3%. Dreamliner battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. fell 5%.
In Seoul trading, Hyundai Motor Co. gained 1% and Kia Motors Corp. rose 0.7%, while Samsung Electronics Co. lost 1.5%.
In Sydney, investors moved into banks, pushing Westpac Banking Corp. higher by 0.7%, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Corp. up 0.8%.
Data out Thursday showed that the country's jobless rate ticked up to 5.4% in December from 5.3% in November, although the rise was in line with economist expectations
The Shanghai CSI 300 subsided 24.33 points, or 0.9%, to 2,552.76
Financial-sector stocks moved lower in Shanghai, with China Construction Bank Corp. dropping 1.3% and Bank of Communications Co. lower by 1.4%.
In other markets
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index docked 13.40 points, or 0.4%, to 3,195.10
Korea's Kospi Index let go of 3.18 points, or 0.2%, to 1,974.27
Taiwan's Taiex Index fell 83.79 points, or 1.1%, to 7,616.64
The NZX 50 gained back 27.58 points, or 0.7%, to 4,196.81
Australia's ASX Index gained 18.18 points, or 0.4%, to 4,756.63
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