Asia report: Markets mixed as Japan exports rise
Markets in Asia closed in a mixed state on Wednesday, as investors digested the latest export data from Japan, while bourses in mainland China remained on holiday.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.58% at 30,292.19, as the yen strengthened 0.04% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 106.00.
Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was flat, as fashion firm Fast Retailing added 0.15% and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was 0.14% weaker.
The broader Topix index lost 0.18% by the end of trading in Tokyo, settling at 1,961.49.
Fresh data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance showed a 6.4% improvement in exports year-on-year in January.
On the mainland, traders were still enjoying their time off for the Lunar New Year holiday.
South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.93% at 3,133.73, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 1.1% to 31,084.94.
The blue-chip technology stocks were weaker in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 2% and SK Hynix 1.89% softer.
Oil prices were higher by the end of the Asian day, with Brent crude last up 0.96% at $63.96 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate rising 0.8% to $60.53.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.46% to 6,885.20, as the weighty financials subindex closed flat.
The major banks were mixed on the sunburnt continent, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 1.9%, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.37%, National Australia Bank eked out gains of 0.16%, and Westpac Banking Corporation surged 4.58%.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was 0.5% stronger at 12,673.97 as Wellington’s earnings season kicked off.
Medical products company Ebos Group was down 0.21%, while Fletcher Building was up 0.78% and self-listed exchange operator NZX added 0.5%, after all three firms posted positive results.
The down under dollars were both weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.08% at AUD 1.2907, and the Kiwi retreating 0.27% to NZD 1.3910.