Arab Today, arab today asian shares mixed after bernanke comments
Last Updated : GMT 08:53:10
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Asian shares mixed after Bernanke comments

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Arab Today, arab today Asian shares mixed after Bernanke comments

Hong Kong - AFP

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday in a muted reaction after US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the bank had no plan to wind down its stimulus until the economy was back on track. The comments, which came as a closely watched report said growth was moderate, helped calm nervous dealers as Wall Street ended in positive territory. Tokyo\'s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 193.46 points or 1.32 percent at 14,808.50, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.72 percent, or 8.77 points, to 1,222.01 as confident forex dealers pushed the dollar back above the 100 yen level. Bernanke told lawmakers Wednesday the Fed had no firm timetable for cutting back on its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases and that it would consider reducing them only if the economy continues to improve. \"I emphasise that, because our asset purchases depend on economic and financial developments, they are by no means on a preset course,\" he said. SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi said: \"Bernanke\'s words were nothing new, but did have a calming effect for those still harbouring jitters about a near-term end of the US easing policy.\" SoftBank jumped 4.03 percent to a decade-high of 6,450 yen after the company said it had set up a joint venture with a US firm to supply green energy in Japan.Tokyo Electric Power eased 0.54 percent to 735 yen following reports that steam has been spotted in a reactor building at its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, although the utility insisted there were no signs yet of increased radiation. The Sydney market added 0.24 percent, or 11.7 points, to close at 4,993.4. However, Seoul fell 0.64 percent, or 12.01 points, to 1.875.48 and Hong Kong dipped 0.12 percent, or 26.65 points, to 21,345.22 while Shanghai shed 1.05 percent, or 21.52 points, to 2,023.40. On forex markets the dollar broke back above the 100 yen barrier as traders saw the news as a boost for the regional economy. In afternoon trade the greenback was at 100.25 yen, compared with 99.60 yen in New York late Wednesday, while the euro fetched $1.3109 and 131.37 yen against $1.3125 and 130.73 yen. Eyes will now be on a meeting of G20 finance ministers on Thursday and Friday in Moscow, where officials are expected to discuss the Fed\'s stimulus, while Japan will hold upper house elections at the weekend. On oil markets New York\'s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for August delivery, was down eight cents at $106.40 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for September shed 11 cents to $108.50. Gold cost $1,281.20 per ounce at 1035 GMT, compared with $1,286.30 late Wednesday. In other markets: -- Taipei fell 0.78 percent, or 64.07 points, to 8,194.88. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 3.21 percent to Tw$105.5 while Hon Hai rose 0.78 percent to Tw$78.0. -- Manila closed 1.12 percent higher, adding 73.63 points to 6.648.35. Philippine Long Distance Telephone rose 2.43 percent to 2,956 pesos and Universal Robina added 2.25 percent to 127 pesos, while SM Investments gained 0.64 percent to 950 pesos. -- Wellington fell 0.34 percent, or 15.59 points, to 4,563.39. Contact Energy was down 1.28 percent at NZ$5.42, Fletcher Building was off 0.59 percent at NZ$8.47 and Telecom rose 0.65 percent to NZ$2.32. -- Bangkok jumped 2.00 percent, or 29.11 points, to 1,487.19. Airports of Thailand surged 5.62 percent to 188 baht, while telecoms company True Corp. gained 5.42 percent to 8.75 baht. -- Jakarta ended up 0.89 percent, or 41.43 points, at 4,720.43. Asia Pacific Fibers rose 12.26 percent to 119 rupiah, palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari gained 2.34 percent to 17,500 rupiah, while car maker Astra International lost 1.48 percent to 6,650 rupiah. -- Singapore closed up 0.31 percent, or 9.87 points, at 3,218.20. Oil rig maker Keppel Corp was up 0.18 percent to Sg$10.90 and United Overseas Bank gained 0.10 percent at Sg$21.15. -- Kuala Lumpur gained 0.16 percent or 2.88 points to 1,791.54. Electric utility Tenaga added 1.8 percent to 9.01 ringgit, while telecommunication firm Maxis rose 1.3 percent to 7.01. Palm oil plantation conglomorate IOI Corp. lost 2.5 percent to 5.38 ringgit. -- Mumbai rose 0.90 percent or 179.68 points to 20,128.41 points, led by banking and oil stocks. India\'s state-run UCO Bank jumped 14.92 percent to 73.55 rupees, while oil explorer ONGC rose 4.42 percent to 314.75 rupees.

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