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Asian markets mostly higher; Tokyo mixed

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by Elaine Frei

Most Asian equities markets saw gains on Monday, with Tokyo again being the exception as the Topix index was slightly higher but the Nikkei was down by 55.08 points on the day.

In South Korea, the Kospi Index added 0.5 percent to 1,329.22 as foreign buyers purchased more than they sold for the first time in 14 trading days. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4 percent to 15,963.77 despite caution in anticipation of the beginning of trade by the Bank of China, scheduled for Thursday. The BSE Sensex index in Mumbai added 0.4 percent to 10,853.14 on advances in the transportation sector. In Karachi, Pakistan, however, the KSE-100 lost 3.9 percent to 10,247.59 as foreign fund managers sold heavily.

In Tokyo, while the Topix added 0.2 percent, a mere 2.39 points, to 1,616.17 on steel and banking advances, the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent to 15,915.68.

The banking sector added 1.2 percent as a whole, with Mitsubishi UFJ and Resona each up by 2.7 percent, to ¥1,540,000 and ¥348,000 respectively. Despite forecasts for this year that were disappointing for some banks, most annual reports for the year just ended were good.

Steel companies were up on reports that European steel maker Arcelor will purchase Russian company Severstal. Nippon Steel gained 0.7 percent to ¥471, Tokyo Steel Manufacturing was up 1 percent to ¥2,460, and JFE added 1.7 percent to ¥4,860.

Toyota was up 0.5 percent to ¥6,140 after Daiwa Institute of Research raised its target share price on the carmaker.

Declines came in the retail sector after new data showed that year-on-year sales were down in April. Seven & I dropped 1 percent to ¥4,070, while Isetan was down 1.4 percent to 2,085 and Matsuzakaya declined 2 percent to ¥872.

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News posted: May 29, 2006

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