Asian stocks ended mostly higher on
Wednesday, but trade was cautious and many investors were unsure
if the recovery of battered U.S. shares would last.
Major regional stock markets bounced at the open after the
tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow Jones index soared for a second
day in a row, wiping out much of last week's huge losses.
But some investors in Asia were not convinced by Wall
Street's comeback and profit-taking pared early gains by the
close. The long Easter holiday, starting on Thursday or Friday,
also weighed on sentiment.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 0.97 percent at
15,427.20 after touching 15,667.52, while Taiwan's TAIEX fell
2.18 percent to 9,104.4 after opening at 9,435.02.
"Investors are unwilling to chase up stock prices at these
levels after the market rebounded since they are not sure
whether the Nasdaq composite has really turned firmer," said
Jason Ho, director of sales at BNP Prime Peregrine Securities.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 average ended 117.10 points or 0.62
percent higher at 19,086.62, after struggling between losses and
gains for most of the day. While investors took some heart in
Wall Street's performance, many were busy reshuffling their
portfolios ahead of a reconfiguration of the index on April 24.
Australian shares closed firmer across the board on
Wednesday but traders cautioned this week's recovery looked
"Many of the tech stocks are still overvalued and there
could be more bad news to come," suggested Hartley Poynton
broker Dirk Van der Struyf.
The S&P;/ASX 200 index closed up 58.9 points or almost two
percent at 3,069.2, just a touch off the day's high.
Singapore's Straits Times Index was the region's best
performer, rising 2.58 percent to 2,058.9. Among the top gainers
were chip-maker Chartered Semiconductor, up S$1.40 at S$12.70
and Creative Technology, up S$2.50 at S$38.80.
Stocks Soar, But For How Long?
Many U.S. traders were surprised by the size of the rally on
Wall Street, saying they expected a retesting of recent lows
before there could be any sustainable advance.
The Nasdaq on Tuesday rose 254.41 points, or 7.19 percent to
3,793.57, its biggest one-day point gain ever as strong earnings
reports renewed faith in technology companies' prospects for
rapid growth. The index rose 6.56 percent on Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 1.75 percent to
10,767.42, building on Monday's 2.69 percent gain.
The dollar consolidated across the board on Wednesday on
easing fears of a mass exodus of global investment from the
In European trade, the dollar was at 104.55 yen compared
with New York's close of 104.68, while the euro was steady at
June 10-year Japanese government bond futures strengthened
to close near their Wednesday highs, helped by bargain-hunting,
June JGB futures ended the Tokyo session at 132.42, up 0.22
of a point from Tuesday's close of 132.20. It moved in a range
of 131.96 to 132.44.
Tech Shares In A Muddle
South Korea's tech-led Kosdaq over-the-counter market ended
up 2.67 points or 1.60 percent at 169.66, while the main Korea
Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) index rose 1.04 percent to
Analysts said futures-linked sales pared earlier gains on
some blue-chips, including giant chip maker Samsung Electronics,
which dropped 0.66 percent to 300,000 won.
The OTC market, which shed 20 percent in its three previous
sessions, remained weak, analysts said and on Wednesday
investment trust companies were busy unloading shares.
Tech shares in Japan were also mixed on Wednesday with
Internet giant Softbank extending its long downtrend by
finishing at 46,300 yen, down 5,000 yen, or 9.75 percent, while
Hikari Tsushin ended ask-only 25,800 yen.
But Yahoo Japan finished up by its daily limit of two
million yen, or 6.68 percent, at 31.95 million after reporting a
tripling of revenues. Debutant Rakuten Inc, a Internet shopping
mall operator, finished at 30 million lower than its IPO
price of 33 million but better than its disappointing first
trading price of 19.9 million.
Hong Kong's Pacific Century CyberWorks lost HK$0.50 or 3.51
percent to HK$13.75, on concerns about its bid to take over
Cable & Wireless HKT might be affected by its share price.