Asia: Mixed on tepid lead from Wall St

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed yesterday, following a tepid lead from Wall Street, ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy meeting, while oil edged down a touch from nine-month highs as traders nervously watch the crisis in Iraq.

The dollar nudged a little higher against the yen after the previous day’s sell-off but the uncertainty caused by events in the Gulf kept gains to a minimum.

Tokyo closed 0.29 per cent, or 42.68 points, higher to finish at 14,975.97, after sinking more than one per cent on Monday, while Seoul gained 0.40 per cent, or 7.96 points, to 2,001.55.

But Sydney gave up 0.21 per cent, or 11.6 points, to end at 5,400.7, while Shanghai slipped 0.92 per cent, or 19.29 points, to 2,066.70.

With few economic catalysts to drive trade, Iraq has dominated investors’ attention as militants sweep across the country, taking over key cities and heading for Baghdad.

In other markets:

q Bangkok slipped 0.06 per cent, or 0.83 points, to 1,471.02. Coal producer Banpu lost 0.84 per cent, or 0.25 baht, to 29.50 while Bangkok Bank fell 0.78 per cent, or 1.50 baht, to 192.00.

q Manila closed 0.79 per cent lower, shedding 53.52 points to 6,704.93. Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 0.14 per cent to 2,846 pesos while Ayala Land tumbled 3.19 per cent to 30.30 pesos.

q Mumbai rose 1.31 per cent, or 330.71 points, to end at 25,521.19. Jaypee Infratech rose 12.82 per cent to 33.00 rupees while IRB Infrastructure Developers was up 7.82 per cent to 209.60 rupees.

q Jakarta ended up 0.49 per cent, or 24.06 points, at 4,909.52. Asia Pacific Fibers gained 1.47 per cent to 69 rupiah, while Bank Permata lost 0.37 per cent at 1,330 rupiah.

q Taipei added 0.41 per cent, or 37.67 points, to 9,240.6. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.81 per cent higher at T$125 while leading chip design house MediaTek gained 2.72 per cent to T$510.

q Wellington rose 0.28 per cent, or 14.70 points, to 5,193.50. Fletcher Building was up 0.34 per cent at NZ$8.96 and Telecom added 1.10 per cent to NZ$2.75. AFP