By V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Stocks in Australia and Hong Kong rebounded Thursday from the previous day’s sharp losses, aided by strong monthly trade data from China and some upbeat earnings reports. Japanese shares tumbled in volatile trade amidst a strengthening yen.
Australia’s /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.49% extended early gains to finish 1.1% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.12% climbed 0.3% after data from China showed both its exports and imports climbed more than expected in July, recovering from the weakness seen in June.
China’s Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.07% slipped 0.1% after a choppy trading session.
“Together with the rebounding official Purchasing Managers’ Index ... July trade data are supportive of a better economic outlook for China and will surely help boost market confidence,” said Ting Lu, a China economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.17% ended 1.6% lower, adding to its 4% plunge Wednesday.
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The losses came as the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.2263% fell further to slide toward ¥96. Earlier in the day, the Bank of Japan left its policies unchanged, as expected, while saying the domestic economy was “starting to recover moderately.”
The day’s performance in Asia followed a third straight day of losses on Wall Street, amid uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s widely expected reduction in monthly bond purchases.
“Markets have moved into a ‘sell on the rumor, buy on the fact’ mode in the wake of the end of the U.S. [earnings reporting] season and rising concerns about U.S. Fed’s tapering,” said Perpetual head of investment research Matthew Sherwood.
U.S. equity futures edged higher during Asian stock trade, with those on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 adding 0.2% each.
Among stocks losing ground in Tokyo, Hino Motors Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209422954/delayed JP:7205 +1.09% /zigman2/quotes/207652388/delayed HINOY +13.07% and Tokyo Electric Power Co. /zigman2/quotes/202771076/delayed JP:9501 +2.58% /zigman2/quotes/205839055/delayed TKECY +0.54% slumped 5% each, Panasonic Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed JP:6752 +1.34% /zigman2/quotes/202333059/delayed PCRFY +2.71% lost 3.3% and Tokyu Land Corp. shed 4.6%.
George Clooney escapes war of words with Dan Loeb
Activist investor Dan Loeb is carefully avoiding a fight with actor George Clooney after the latter had some choice words for Loeb's desire to break up Sony. Photo: Getty Images.
In Sydney, meanwhile, shares of Telstra /zigman2/quotes/201936124/delayed AU:TLS +0.15% /zigman2/quotes/202275272/delayed TTRAF -0.35% rose 2.4% after the telecommunications major posted a forecast-beating 12% increase in annual profit.
Over in Hong Kong, shares of banking heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202687335/delayed HK:5 +3.52% rose 0.2% and China Coal Energy Co. /zigman2/quotes/201486584/delayed HK:1898 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/205321671/delayed CCOZY 0.00% gained 2.5%, while footwear major Belle International Holdings Ltd. climbed 3.3%.
In Shanghai, several financial and property stocks drifted lower amid lingering economic worries.
Shares of Citic Securities Co. /zigman2/quotes/210326178/delayed CN:600030 -0.61% /zigman2/quotes/207216844/delayed CIIHF +1.69% dropped 1% and Southwest Securities Co. /zigman2/quotes/201082446/delayed CN:600369 0.00% fell 1.9%, while Gemdale Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208026094/delayed CN:600383 +3.53% lost 1.8%.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.12% added 0.3% after the Bank of Korea left its policy interest rate unchanged, as widely expected.
In Seoul, KB Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208188987/delayed KR:105560 +2.06% /zigman2/quotes/200043823/composite KB +3.69% rose 1.4%, and Shinhan Financial Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/202889287/delayed KR:055550 +0.46% /zigman2/quotes/208869909/composite SHG +5.34% added 0.4%.