Asia markets see mixed results as weak yen gives lift to Tokyo
AFPHONG KONG--Asian markets were mixed Thursday, despite a positive lead from Wall Street and news that Chinese manufacturing activity hit a two-year high in January.
January 25, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The yen retreated after a two-day rally as Japan logged a record trade deficit for last year, with exports hit by the ongoing territorial spat with China and Europe's long-running debt crisis.
Tokyo reversed early losses thanks to the yen's dip, with the Nikkei up 1.28 percent, or 133.88 points, at 10,620.87, while Sydney rose 0.47 percent, or 22.4 points, to 4,810.2, but Seoul shed 0.80 percent, or 15.93 points, to 1,964.48.
Shanghai fell 0.79 percent, or 18.31 points, to 2,302.60, with profit-takers moving in after the index hit an eight-month high in intraday trade, while Hong Kong shed 0.15 percent, or 36.20 points, to 23,598.90.
In China HSBC said its preliminary purchasing managers index rose to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December, its highest since January 2011.
Anything above 50 indicates growth while anything below is contraction.
The news reinforces views that the world's number two economy has picked up after a drawn-out slumber. On Friday official figures showed gross domestic product grew at a faster pace than expected in 2012 and at a quicker pace than the government had hoped.
The results provided a fillip to Japan's Nikkei, while data showing Japan suffered a second consecutive annual trade deficit last year sent the yen tumbling, providing shares with another lift.
Official figures from the finance ministry showed Japan's trade shortfall last year totaled 6.92 trillion yen (US$78 billion), with the deficit in December alone standing at a higher-than-expected 641.5 billion yen.