Asian markets mostly rise in afternoon rally

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HONG KONG: Most Asian stock markets recovered from early Monday losses to rally in the afternoon.

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However, with Wednesday’s US Federal Reserve interest rate rise now in the past, analysts said concerns about the global economy continue to keep traders cautious.

While markets will begin winding down for the Christmas break Friday there are some key economic figures due for release this week, including US economic growth and home sales as well as Japanese inflation and spending.

Toshiba plunges
On currency markets the greenback slipped to 121.20 yen Monday, well below last week’s high above 123 yen touched after the US rate rise. The dollar was also down against the euro.

In Tokyo scandal-hit conglomerate Toshiba lost almost 10 percent following a weekend report in the leading Nikkei business daily that it would likely record a fiscal year net loss of about $4 billion.

In a statement after the markets closed Monday, Toshiba said it would post a record 550 billion yen ($4.5 billion) annual loss.

The 140-year-old company was this year hit by revelations that executives systematically pressured underlings to inflate profits in a years-long scheme to hide poor results.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index ended 0.4 percent lower but pared most of its early losses after falling 1.8 percent at one point, with a pick-up in the dollar against the yen providing some respite for exporters.

Most other regional markets were in positive territory after falling into the red in the morning. Sydney closed up 0.1 percent, Hong Kong gained 0.2 percent in the afternoon and Seoul ended 0.3 percent higher.

Shanghai closed 1.8 percent higher on fresh hopes Chinese authorities would unveil new measures to reform the economy, particularly the cumbersome state-owned enterprises.

But Stewart Richardson, chief investment officer at RMG Wealth Management in London, warned: “The problems that have been affecting both markets and the global economy for months remain in place.

“Commodity prices remain low, corporate debt remains too high and emerging markets continue to struggle. Furthermore, although Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen continues to characterize the US economy as strong, it does appear to be slowing down.”

AFP

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