Business

Asian stocks fall in thin holiday trade

TOKYO: Stocks in Tokyo and Shanghai lost ground yesterday in quiet trading with most of the region's other key markets closed for public holidays.

Both Japan and China declined as investors cashed in on a recent global rally fuelled largely by expectations for the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump.

Incentives were few and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which on Friday again fell short of 20,000 points in light trade ahead of the holiday weekend, provided no tailwind.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which was closed on Friday for a national holiday, ended down 0.16 per cent to 19,396.64 points.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.37 per cent at 1,538.14 points.

"Selective shares are facing profit-taking following the recent gains, as many investors are on the sidelines in a holiday mood, looking to fresh factors to trade," said broker Shinichi Yamamoto at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.

Japan's banks remained under selling pressure on negative news in the overseas sector.

Italy on Friday approved a state-funded rescue of Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank while Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse agreed to pay almost US$12.5 billion (S$18 billiion) to settle disputes over the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the global financial crisis.

DROP

Japan's MUFG dropped 1.22 per cent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, 0.84 per cent.

"There are very few market participants around at the end of the year, and with some short-term overbuying, Japanese stocks may keep adjusting their levels," chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Shoji Hirakawa, told Bloomberg.

But Nintendo was up 4.06 per cent to 24,555 yen (S$303) after the company's president told a Japanese newspaper it plans to release at least three game apps for smartphones a year.

Chinese stocks fell yesterday, driven by a decline in commodity shares affected by a plunge in futures prices, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.78 per cent by the break. - AFP

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