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Asian Markets at Close Report

European Markets at Close Report

Jun 22, 2016

Asian Markets at Close Report, by MarketWatch on June 21, 2016: Asian Markets Mostly Sbdued aHead of Brexit

marketwatch.com
 
Chao Deng 
 
Shares in Japan and Hong Kong struggled while markets elsewhere were subdued Wednesday, as investors were reluctant to make big trades ahead of the U.K.’s vote on whether to leave the European Union.

The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.64%  was down 0.9% while the Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.61%  fell 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.94%  was up 0.2%, and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, -0.07%  was flat. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.50%  inched up 0.2%.
Shares in Asia have recovered this week as polls show Britain tilting toward a decision to stay in the EU. But investors and traders are mindful of surprises that could send shares tumbling again.
“Large institutions aren’t going to make a big bets on the vote because it’s a binary decision,” said Andrew Sullivan, managing director at Hong Kong-based brokerage Haitong International.
More polls on the referendum are expected before Thursday’s vote, the results of which are expected Friday morning Asia time.
Regional markets have been quiet with trading volumes sluggish in Hong Kong. Tuesday saw 54 billion Hong Kong dollars of shares traded, compared with a 12-month daily average of 78.4 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Last week, polls showing a preference to “exit” sent global markets plunging and investors rushing for safe-haven assets.
Overnight in the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen delivered her semiannual testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Yellen struck a slightly cautious note, with investors saying her remarks were largely in line with what they had expected.
“The Federal Open Market Committee is unlikely to hike in July while waiting for more data,” said Bernard Aw, market strategist at brokerage IG. “Solid [second quarter] GDP numbers and a bounce in payrolls figures back around 200,000 levels would be nice. A ‘stay’ vote in the U.K. referendum will certainly help,” he added.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.1% overnight, while the S&P 500 gained 0.3%.
In Japan, shares were pressured yet again by the stronger yen on Wednesday. The yen, which has been trading close to a 22-month high, was last up 0.4%, with the greenback at ¥104.41. A stronger yen hurts the competitiveness of Japanese exporters.
In corporate news, shares of SoftBank Group 9984, +2.60%  were up 2.7% after President Nikesh Arora announced an abrupt departure after just two years with the firm. The split follows criticism in recent months from investors who raised concerns about Arora’s performance. Some launched a campaign to oust him, questioning his record and suggesting he faces a conflict of interest because he also advises a private-equity firm.
Brent crude oil was last up 0.1% at $50.69 a barrel.