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Jan 13, 2017

Asian Markets at Close Report on January 13, 2016: Asian Markets Close Out the Week Mainly Lower

marketwatch.com
 
Ese Erheriene 
 
Asian stocks indexes ended the week broadly lower after choppy trading Friday, as markets sought direction after largely trending higher in 2017.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +0.80%   stood out as the day’s best performer, reversing a large chunk of Thursday’s 1.2% decline as the dollar USDJPY, -0.04%  regained some footing versus the yen.
Market players have begun to adopt a wait-and-see approach following the great expectations a number of people had in the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s election win. Before the U.S. president-elect takes office next Friday, some have been harvesting profits — especially given the lack of detail in Trump’s press conference Wednesday, noted Tareck Horchani, deputy head of Asian-Pacific sales trading at Saxo Markets.
Read: Two reasons to believe the ‘Trump rally’ has months still to run
Buying on the dips was seen in Japan stocks.The Nikkei had fallen in 10 of the past 13 sessions through Thursday, but it closed up 0.8%.
“Investors are relieved to be finding share prices that create a good opportunity to make an entry,” said Hisao Matsuura, chief strategist at Nomura Japan.
Hong Kong was also a bright spot amid gains in energy names, notably coal. The Hang Seng HSI, +0.47%  gained 0.5% to undo Thursday’s pullback, in the process logging its highest close since Nov. 1.
But red was the predominant color for Friday. Regional losses were led by the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.79% , which dropped 0.8% in the Australian index’s third down day in four. Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.50% fell 0.5%, and New Zealand’s NZX-50 NZ50GR, -0.24%   closed down 0.2%.
Financial stocks, which have had the biggest run-up after Trump’s election, were among the biggest decliners. Australia’s “Big Four” banks — Westpac WBC, -1.59%  , Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA, -1.38%  , National Australia Bank NAB, -1.33%   and Australia and New Zealand Banking ANZ, -1.82%   — were down 1.3% to 1.8%, losing a sizable amount of 2017’s early gains.
Abe and Duterte strengthen ties at a meeting in the Philippines
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed several deals Thursday during their second meeting in three months.
Meanwhile, China’s exports fell a bigger-than-expected 6.1% in dollar terms last month from a year earlier, helping result in a smaller trade surplus than analysts anticipated.
After seesawing for much of the session, the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.21%   ended down 0.2% to post a fourth-straight decline. But drops were much bigger elsewhere as Shenzhen’s benchmark index 399106, -1.55%  and the smaller ChiNext board 399006, -1.56%  both slid 1.6%.
“China’s trade growth is highly volatile and the declines last month are partly due to” strong results in December 2015, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics. But he added December’s decline “is still concerning given that the current environment of rising prices and relatively buoyant global manufacturing growth ought to have been supportive of Chinese trade values.”
Among individual names in the region, Takata 7312, +16.47%   hit upward daily limits with its 16.5% jump after The Wall Street Journal reported the Japanese air-bag maker could agree as soon as Friday to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and pay roughly $1 billion to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe. Hopes for a deal soon have fueled a near-75% stock surge the past two-plus weeks.
Potentially set to impact trading Monday in Asia — where activity could be slowed some by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the U.S. — is news from America still to come Friday: December retail-sales data, and fourth-quarter earnings reports from J.P. Morgan and Bank of America. They “could pull the markets out from the current discontented state,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Group.