Australian shares rebounded on Tuesday, boosted by materials and healthcare, after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard’s comments on the US economy strengthened the view that the central bank would leave interest rates unchanged next week.
Ms Brainard said she wanted to see a stronger trend in US consumer spending and evidence of rising inflation before the Fed raises rates, reducing prospects of a near-term interest rate hike.
The dollar was nursing losses against its peers after Brainard reiterated her dovish views.
“The rally that we saw in US trading after those (Brainard’s) comments is one of the reasons why we are seeing such a positive performance today across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist with CMC Markets.
Taiwan stocks hit their lowest in almost two months on Tuesday in volatile trading, tracking declines in some other regional markets, with a recovery in some heavyweights such as TSMC limiting the falls.
The main Taiex index was down 0.14 per cent at 8934.51 at 0315 GMT. It had dipped to as low as 8,885.55 earlier in the session, an intraday level not seen since July 15.
Taiwan’s market sentiment has been cautious, in part prompted by massive foreign selling. The electronics subindex sank 0.3 per cent, while the financials subindex lost 0.7 per cent.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s top contract chip maker and the market’s most heavily-weighted share, dipped nearly 1 per cent but recovered later.
Taiwan stocks fell to about a one-week low on Friday as TSMC and other Apple Inc suppliers tracked losses in Apple shares after the iPhone 7 failed to impress Wall Street.
As of 0326 GMT, the main Taiex index fell one per cent to 9,169.69, after closing at 9,262.89 in the previous session.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s biggest contract chip maker, dipped 1.4 per cent. Hon Hai Precision was off 0.9 per cent.
The electronics subindex sank one per cent, while the financials subindex lost 1.2 per cent.
The Taiwan dollar softened NT$0.094 to NT$31.380 per US dollar.
South Korean shares and won fell early on Friday following a suspected North Korean nuclear test.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House will hold a National Security Council meeting at 0200 GMT on Friday after seismic activity was detected near North Korea’s known nuclear test site, activity South Korea said could have been a nuclear test.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 1.2 per cent at 2,038.21 points as of 0201 GMT.
The won was quoted at 1,100sw.1, down 0.7 per cent compared to Thursday’s close of 1,092.6.
SHARES of Ezra Holdings fell 3.4 per cent to 5.6 Singapore cents in Friday early morning trade, as trading volumes of the counter surged.
Some 158.3 million shares of the offshore support provider had changed hands as at 10.07am, drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
On Thursday, Ezra was also one of the most active counters on the SGX, jumping nearly 35 per cent or 1.5 cents to close at 5.8 cents, with 182.1 million shares traded.
SINGAPORE stocks opened 0.82 per cent lower on Friday, with the Straits Times Index losing 23.78 points to 2,870.7 as at 9.05am.
About 105.1 million shares worth S$74.8 million in total changed hands. Losers outnumbered gainers 88 to 63.
Some of the top traded stocks were Singapore Exchange, CapitaLand and Singtel.
THE following stocks made announcements after Thursday’s market close that could affect its trading on Friday:
Yoma Strategic said its subsidiary, Convenience Prosperity Company Ltd (CPCL), has been appointed by J C Bamford Excavators as the exclusive distributor for the Myanmar market. The partnership is important at a time when infrastructure and construction activities are accelerating across the country, said its CEO Melvyn Pun.
Seafood supply chain manager Oceanus Group has signed a binding term sheet with two of three of its key creditors for a proposed debt restructuring, which may greatly reduce its total outstanding debt balance. The total debt balance, including accrued interest, held under the two key creditors, Ocean Wonder International and BW Investment, amounts to S$71.85 million, representing 82.8 per cent of Oceanus’s outstanding debts.
Del Monte Pacific narrowed its first quarter loss to US$8.7 million, from US$10.7 million a year ago, on lower operating expenses as a result of a restructuring that started last year. The group’s revenue shrank 2.8 per cent to US$465.5 million from the preceding year.