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China Stocks closed up
Jun 03,2016

Mainland China stock market advanced on Friday, 03 June 2016, as investors continued hunting for blue chip stocks amid expectations that global index provider MSCI might include mainland Chinese stocks into its widely tracked benchmarks. Total 8 out of 10 SSE sectoral indices advanced with consumer staples, healthcare, IT, telecom, and consumer discretionary issues being major gainers. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen inclined 0.7%, to 3189.33, while the Shanghai Composite Index grew 0.46%, to 2938.68 points, taking its weekly gain to 4.2%.

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Hong Kong Market ends higher
Jun 03,2016

The Hong Kong stock market finished with gains in quite trade on Friday, 03 June 2016, as investors waited for the latest US jobs data, due out later, to see if the Federal Reserve is likely to raise US interest rates soon. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 88.02 points, or 0.42%, to 20947.24 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, rose 53.43 points, or 0.61%, to 8809.81. Turnover increased slightly to HK$60.1 billion from HK$57.9 billion on Thursday.

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Australia Market drops 0.8%
Jun 02,2016

Australian share market declined for third straight session on Thursday, 02 June 2016, weighed by selloff in property trusts, bank & financial, metal & mining, consumer goods, and IT stocks. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index declined 44.30 points, or 0.83%, to 5278.90, its lowest close since 4 May 2016. The broader All Ordinaries sank 41 points, or 0.76%, to 5354.20. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 542 to 454 and 296 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 4.85% to 18.209.

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Japan Stocks weigh by surging yen
Jun 02,2016

The Japan share market tumbled on Thursday, 02 June 2016, weighed by the yen appreciation against greenback after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would postpone an increase in the nations sales tax and held back a widely expected fiscal stimulus package. Easing policies aim in part to weaken the yen to help boost the economy, so the smaller chance of easing triggered an unwinding of bearish yen bets, which pushed the yen stronger. The benchmark Nikkei225 index had tumbled 2.32%, or 393.18 points, to 16,562.55. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares fell 2.22%, or 30.26 points, to 1,31.81.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks closed higher in light trade
May 30,2016

Asia Pacific share market traded higher on Monday, 30 May 2016, on tracking positive lead from offshore markets on last Friday and increasing signs of strength in the worlds biggest economy.

The main US indices all gained on Friday overnight due to Yellens hawkish speech, led by the financial and telecommunication sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index edged up 0.25%, or 44.93 points, to close at 17,873.22, while the S&P 500 closed 0.43% higher at 2,099.06, and the Nasdaq market increased 0.65% to close at 4,933.51. US stock markets will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. European markets rose slightly on Friday as the German DAX gained 0.13% to 10,286.31 and Frances CAC 40 inched up 0.05% to 4,514.74.

However, gains were limited as investors anxiety over the U.S. central banks plan to raise interest rates after more hawkish comments from Fed officials. US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said in a speech at Harvard University that an interest rate hike in coming months would n++probablyn++ be n++appropriaten++, given the countrys economy continues to improve.

St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said today that markets are well-prepared for a possible rate increase globally. Traders are pricing in a 30% chance the Fed will increase rates in June, up from 4% earlier this month. July shows a 54% probability of higher U.S. borrowing costs, up from 51% earlier Friday.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market closes near 9-month peak

Australian share market closed slight higher, as gains in consumer staple, energy, realty, and consumer discretionary stocks were more than offset by losses in materials & resources and banks & financials stocks. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 2.10 points, or 0.04%, to 5408. The broader All Ordinaries added 3.90 points, or 0.07%, to 5473.60.

ALS posted a full year loss of A$240.7 million as the oil and gas sector dragged down the rest of the analytical testing business. Its shares closed more than 7% lower at A$4.17.

News that vitamin company Blackmores was having trouble convincing Chinese customers of the quality of its infant formula product sent its shares tumbling. They lost more than 4% down to close at A$151.50.

Qantass latest traffic statistics showed no improvement since the airline warned last month that domestic travel has slowed in Australia as the nation heads towards a federal election. Qantas closed 3.3% higher at A$3.10.

Cleaning company Spotless Group Holdings jumped 6.2% after it reaffirmed its earnings forecast and announced it may be selling its laundry business.

Japan Stocks rise on weaker yen, sales tax hike delay hopes

The Japan share market advanced on the back of yen depreciation against the dollar and on media reports that a planned hike in the countrys consumption would be delayed. The 225-issue Nikkei average spurted 233.18 points, or 1.39%, to close at 17068.02. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 716.08 point, or 1.19%, at 1366.01.

Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told senior ruling party officials that he wants to delay raising the sales tax again, this time by more than two years, media reports said during the weekend. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki, a former finance minister, are opposed to Abes idea of yet another delay in the tax hike, from April next year until October 2019, the reports said. Aso told Abe that if the government were to postpone the tax hike, which is designed to help finance growing social security costs and thus trim the huge public debt, the Prime Minister would have to dissolve the Lower House and call snap elections.

Shares of exporters closed sharply higher after yen jumped above 111 levels against greenback for the first time since late April. A weaker yen is generally a positive for exporter as it increases overseas profits when converted into local currency. Soy sauce maker Kikkoman Corp, which gets 47% of revenue from North America, surged 2.8% to 3930 yen. Subaru automaker Fuji Heavy Industries, which relies on North America for 60% of sales, added 3.8% to 4120 yen. Among other blue chip exporters, Sony Corp rose 0.1% to 3082 yen and Panasonic Corp 3.1% to 995 yen, meanwhile Toyota Motor Corp grew 1.7% to 5681 yen, Nissan Motor Co 3.8% to 1105 yen, and Mazda Motor Corp. 3.7% to 1861 yen. Alps Electric Co. added 3.1% to 2174 yen and TDK Corp 2.4% to 6430 yen. Robotics firm Fanuc Corp was up 2.4% to 16735 yen.

China Stocks closes marginally up

Mainland China stock market finished marginally higher in lighter volume amid uncertainty over the monetary policy outlook as the economy fails to show signs of a sustained recovery. Growing uncertainty over Chinas monetary policy and economic health is keeping investors from making bets in the countrys stock and money markets. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.14%, to 3,066.71, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.05%, to 2,822.45 points.

Total of 7 out of 10 SSE sectoral indices declined, with material issue leading loss, down 0.5%, followed by energy down 0.4% and IT down 0.3%. Telecommunication services issue ended 1.5% stronger and financial rose 0.8%.

CRRC Corp. advanced 4.4% companies after the nations only maker of high-speed locomotives announced plans to raise as much as $1.8 billion in a private share sale to repay debt and help finance its daily operations.

Hong Kong Market rises 0.26%

The Hong Kong stock market advanced on tracking positive lead from US markets on last Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said a rate hike in the coming months. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 52.62 points, or 0.26%, to 20629.39 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, added 29.48 points, or 0.34%, to 8624.76. Turnover increased to HK$58.5 billion from HK$55.5 billion on Friday.

BOCHK (02388) completed the sale of NCB stake to China Cinda (01359). It earned HK$30 billion from the disposal. The bank is considering special dividend payout. BOCHK jumped 1.9% to HK$23.7. China Cinda edged up 0.4% to HK$2.47.

Goldman Sachs recommended CR Power (00836), Huadian Power (01071), and China Power (02380), noting their attractive 8% dividend yields. CR Power rose 3.5% to HK$11.94. It was the top blue-chip winner today. Huadian shot up 5.8% to HK$4.02. China Power surged 5.3% to HK$3.21. Huaneng Power (00902) added 3.4% to HK$5.2.

China Life (02628) gained 0.8% to HK$17.06 on talks that it has joined hands with RXR Realty to buy New York office tower for HK$12.8 billion.

Tingyi (00322) plunged 5.3% to HK$6.83, extending a 10% fall in the previous trading day, as JP Morgan, Jefferies and Daiwa Research all lowered their target prices for the noodle manufacturer.

AAC Tech (02018) soared 6% to HK$62.6 as its managing director said in the AGM that the company plans to expand its capacity by 25% this year. Sunny Optical (02382) also jumped 4.3% to HK$26.65.

Sensex, Nifty attain highest closing level in more than 7 months

Amid a divergent trend among various index constituents, the two key benchmark indices registered small gains. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 72 points or 0.27% to settle at 26,725.60. The Nifty 50 index rose 21.85 points or 0.27% to settle at 8,178.50.

Hindalco Industries surged 12.03% after the company announced strong Q4 March 2016 results. Shares of state-run coal mining giant Coal India moved higher after announcing increase in coal prices. Tata Motors edged higher ahead of the announcement of its Q4 March 2016 results. Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) edged lower after the company announced temporary suspension of manufacturing of cars from its Manesar and Gurgaon facilities due to fire accident at the Manesar facilities of its supplier Subros.

Bharat Heavy Electricals dropped after reporting dismal Q4 March 2016 results. But, the NTPC stock shrugged off weak financial performance for Q4 March 2016. Tech Mahindra edged higher after the companys announcement that it has entered into an agreement to acquire UK based Target Group for an enterprise value of GBP 112 million.

State Bank of India (SBI) extended gains registered during the previous trading session after the banks Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said in a post-result conference call held on Friday, 27 May 2016, that bank proposes to contain fresh slippages ratio within 2.7% of advances in the year ending 31 March 2017 (FY 2017).

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealands NZX50 inclined 0.39% to 7019.64. South Koreas KOSPI index dropped 0.1% to 1967.13. Taiwans Taiex index grew 0.85% to 8535.87. Malaysias KLCI fell 0.45% to 1629.87. Indonesias Jakarta Composite index added 0.44% to 4836.03. Singapores Straits Times index fell 0.2% to 2796.75.

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Australia Market closes near 9-month peak
May 30,2016

Australian share market closed slight higher on Monday, 30 May 2016, as gains in consumer staple, energy, realty, and consumer discretionary stocks were more than offset by losses in materials & resources and banks & financials stocks. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 2.10 points, or 0.04%, to 5408. The broader All Ordinaries added 3.90 points, or 0.07%, to 5473.60.

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Japan Stocks rise on weaker yen, sales tax hike delay hopes
May 30,2016

The Japan share market advanced on Monday, 30 May 2016, on the back of yen depreciation against the dollar and on media reports that a planned hike in the countrys consumption would be delayed. The 225-issue Nikkei average spurted 233.18 points, or 1.39%, to close at 17068.02. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 716.08 point, or 1.19%, at 1366.01.

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China Stocks closes marginally up
May 30,2016

Mainland China stock market finished marginally higher in lighter volume on Monday, 30 May 2016, amid uncertainty over the monetary policy outlook as the economy fails to show signs of a sustained recovery. Growing uncertainty over Chinas monetary policy and economic health is keeping investors from making bets in the countrys stock and money markets. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.14%, to 3,066.71, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.05%, to 2,822.45 points.

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Hong Kong Market rises 0.26%
May 30,2016

The Hong Kong stock market advanced on Monday, 30 May 2016, on tracking positive lead from US markets on last Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said a rate hike in the coming months. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 52.62 points, or 0.26%, to 20629.39 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, added 29.48 points, or 0.34%, to 8624.76. Turnover increased to HK$58.5 billion from HK$55.5 billion on Friday.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks up after G-7 statement, traders await cues from Yellen on rates
May 27,2016

Asia Pacific share market advanced on Friday, 27 May 2016, as risk sentiments underpinned after crude oil hit $50 a barrel for the first time this year and as G-7 leaders pledged that they will take all possible policy measures to prevent the global economy from falling into another crisis. But the markets topside was limited as a wait-and-see mood strengthened before U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at a Harvard University event later on Friday. Investors are closely watching her views on an additional interest rate hike by the Fed.

Investors took heart from the fact that the G-7 countries highlighted in the statement the importance of implementing fiscal strategies flexibly and structural reform decisively. In a statement following a two-day summit in the Japanese resort of Ise-Shima, the worlds seven leading industrial nations pledged to collectively tackle major risks to global growth and committed to a cooperative approach in beefing up policies to stimulate their sluggish economies. Global growth remains moderate and below potential, while risks of weak growth persist, the G7 leaders said in a declaration on Friday. Taking into account country-specific circumstances, we commit to strengthening our economic policy responses in a cooperative manner and to employing a more forceful and balanced policy mix, in order to swiftly achieve a strong, sustainable and balanced growth pattern, the G7 statement said.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market hits 9-month closing high

Australian share market finished the session higher, spurred by the big banks and healthcare stocks. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 17.80 points, or 0.33%, to 5405.90. The broader All Ordinaries added 17.80 points, or 0.33%, to 5469.70. The gains put the market up 1% for the week, the highest close since August last year. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 550 to 442 and 335 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 3.72% to 16.151 a new 1-month low.

Shares of energy players continued uptrend inline with rise crude oil prices, with Oil Search up 1.8% to A$6.83, Santos up 0.7% to A$4.52 and Woodside up 0.4% to A$27.83.

Shares of banks and financial companies also added weight, with Commonwealth Bank up 0.4% to A$78.90, ANZ Banking Group up 1.2% to A$25.85, and Westpac Banking Corp up 0.8% to A$30.98, while National Australia Bank fell 0.2% to A$27.30.

Materials and resources stocks ended lower. Global miner BHP Billiton declined 0.2% to A$19.37 and Rio Tinto shed 1.4% to A$44.83. Pure-play iron ore producer Fortescue Metals rose 2% to A$3.02 as Macquarie Bank analysts declared buying potential in iron-ore stocks.

Australian Dairy Farms Group jumped 20.6% to A$0.205 after saying milk-price pain would ease in the next financial year as the company accelerated its diversification push.

Aristocrat closed up 1.9% to A$12.69 after Thursday announcing a doubling of half year profit to A$159.1 million.

Japan Stocks rise on policy stimulus, delay in sales tax hike hopes

The Japan share market ended higher, helped by hopes for economy-boosting policy measures following a joint statement from leaders of the Group of Seven major industrial countries. Meanwhile, buying momentum received further boost from renewed hopes of extra central bank stimulus measures after official figures showed Core consumer monthly prices falling and press reports that the government would delay a sales tax hike. But gains were limited ahead of a long-holiday weekend in the U.S. with comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the day. The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 62.38 points, or 0.37%, to close at 16,834.84. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 7.06 point, or 0.53%, at 1,349.93.

Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile fresh food prices, dropped 0.3% in April on the heels of a similar drop in March, Internal Affairs Ministry figures showed shortly before markets opened. The negative reading dealt a blow to Tokyos faltering war on deflation, raising pressure on the BoJ to expand its vast monetary easing programme. Sentiment was also boosted by Japanese press reports saying that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had decided to delay a planned sales tax hike over concerns it could damage the already fragile economy. Tokyo is scheduled to raise the sales tax from 8% to 10% in April 2017.

Speaking at a news conference at the G7 summit Friday, Abe himself told reporters: I havent made a decision at this point, adding he will come to a conclusion before an upper house election due in July.

Among gainers, energy explorer Inpex surged 3.59% to 880.7 yen and refiner JX Holdings gained 0.67% to 432.9 yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.42% to 542.7 yen, while mobile giant SoftBank advanced 1.30% to 6,053 yen.

Among the losers, Toyota slipped 0.12% to 5,589 yen, while Takata slumped 8.07% to 421 yen, after skyrocketing more about 21% on Thursday on a report that a US private equity firm wants to take control of the embattled airbag supplier.

China Stocks fall as China industrial profit growth slows

Mainland China stock market finished the session marginally lower, as risk sentiments were subdued after release of weaker than expected industrial profit data and worries about capital outflows. Industrial companies profit growth slowed from 11.1% in March. For the Jan.-April period, profits rose 6.5% from the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics statement released on Friday. Sentiment toward Chinese stocks turned bearish after Marchs pickup in economic indicators didnt carry over to April and a high-profile warning by the Peoples Daily about the nations high levels of debt damped hopes for more easing. Adding to the concern this week is the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates spurring capital outflows. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen shed 0.06%, to 3,062.50, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.05%, to 2,821.05 points. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2% this week to 2,821.05. The index has dropped 4% this month, extending this years slide to 20%.

The Peoples Bank of China will keep policy slightly loose to support the economy, which still faces downward pressure, the China Business News said on Thursday, citing a report written by the central banks monetary policy analysis team.

Global financial markets have been buzzing over whether China is shifting to a more cautious policy stance since an article in the official Peoples Daily early this month. The article quoted an authoritative person as saying China may suffer a financial crisis or recession if the government relies too much on debt-fuelled stimulus to boost flagging economic growth.

Chinese investors fear that means policymakers are taking their foot off the gas after a more than one-year long stimulus blitz, but most economists believe continued fiscal and monetary support is needed because the economy is not yet on a firm footing.

Shares of airline carriers declined, with Juneyao Airlines Co. leading slide amid concerns rising fuel prices risk a profits reversal for Chinese airlines, which reported surging earnings last year. Unlike most overseas peers, they dont hedge against big swings in fuel prices, making it easier for them to take advantage of reduced operating expenses.

Hong Kong Market rises on Shenzhen-HK connect launch talks

The Hong Kong stock market closed higher in volatile trade, on hopes of the launch of Shenzhen-HK connect program next week. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 179.66 points, or 0.88%, to 20576.77 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, added 69.09 points, or 0.81%, to 8595.28. Turnover increased to HK$55.5 billion from HK$46.4 billion on Thursday.

Tencent (00700) was the top blue-chip winner today. It soared 5% to HK$171.2. HKEx (00388) also put on 2% to hK$182.3. Other securities players were also higher. First Shanghai (00227) shot up 10% to HK$1.22. Haitong International (00665) surged 5% to HK$4.31.

ICBC (01398), CCB (00939) and ABC (01288) rose 1-2% to HK$4.08, HK$4.94 and HK$2.8. Forbes ranked the lenders as top three on its global 2000-strong enterprise list.

Lenovo (00992) reported its first loss in seven years. It ended down 4% to HK$4.79. JP Morgan downgraded its rating to neutral, while UBS lowered its target price to HK$5.2.

Tingyi (00322) plunged 10% to HK$7.21 afterr the noodle maker reported a 46% plunge in first-quarter net income.

Sensex, Nifty attain highest closing level in nearly 7 months

Stocks of public sector banks, pharma companies, crude oil refiners and index heavyweights Infosys and HDFC led the latest upmove on the bourses. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 286.92 points or 1.09% to settle at 26,653.60. The Nifty 50 index rose 87 points or 1.08% to settle at 8,156.65.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries surged after the companys US subsidiary Taro Pharmaceutical Industries posted strong financial performance for the year ended 31 March 2016. The State Bank of India stock surged, shrugging off weak financial performance for Q4 March 2016. BPCL jumped 9.12% after the companys board of directors recommended issue of 1:1 bonus shares at the time of announcement of its Q4 March 2016 results after trading hours yesterday, 26 May 2016.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) edged higher on reports that the company is preparing to restart work in four offshore oil and gas blocks, including one of Indias biggest natural gas discoveries, as it seeks to revive development activity stalled for seven years by disputes with the government.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealands NZX50 inclined 0.64% to 6992.55. South Koreas KOSPI index added 0.62% to 1969.17. Taiwans Taiex index grew 0.83% to 8463.61. Malaysias KLCI rose 0.37% to 1637.19. Indonesias Jakarta Composite index added 0.63% to 4814.73. Singapores Straits Times index grew 1.05% to 2802.51.

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Hong Kong Market rises on Shenzhen-HK connect launch talks
May 27,2016

The Hong Kong stock market closed higher in volatile trade on Friday, 27 May 2016, on hopes of the launch of Shenzhen-HK connect program next week. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 179.66 points, or 0.88%, to 20576.77 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, added 69.09 points, or 0.81%, to 8595.28. Turnover increased to HK$55.5 billion from HK$46.4 billion on Thursday.

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China Stocks fall as China industrial profit growth slows
May 27,2016

Mainland China stock market finished the session marginally lower on Friday, 27 May 2016, as risk sentiments were subdued after release of weaker than expected industrial profit data. Industrial companies profit growth slowed from 11.1 percent in March. For the Jan.-April period, profits rose 6.5 percent from the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics statement released on Friday. Sentiment toward Chinese stocks turned bearish after Marchs pickup in economic indicators didnt carry over to April and a high-profile warning by the Peoples Daily about the nations high levels of debt damped hopes for more easing. Adding to the concern this week is the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates spurring capital outflows. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen shed 0.06%, to 3,062.50, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.05%, to 2,821.05 points.

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Australia Market hits 9-month high
May 27,2016

Australian share market finished the session higher on Friday, 27 May 2016, spurred by the big banks and healthcare stocks. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 17.80 points, or 0.33%, to 5405.90. The broader All Ordinaries added 17.80 points, or 0.33%, to 5469.70. The gains put the market up 1 per cent for the week, the highest close since August last year. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 550 to 442 and 335 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 3.72% to 16.151 a new 1-month low.

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Japan Stocks rise on policy stimulus and delay in sales tax hike hopes
May 27,2016

The Japan share market ended higher on Friday, 27 May 2016, helped by hopes for economy-boosting policy measures following a joint statement from leaders of the Group of Seven major industrial countries. Meanwhile, buying momentum received further boost from renewed hopes of extra central bank stimulus measures after official figures showed Core consumer monthly prices falling and press reports that the government would delay a sales tax hike. But gains were limited ahead of a long-holiday weekend in the U.S. with comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the day. The 225-issue Nikkei average rose 62.38 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 16,834.84. The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 7.06 point, or 0.53 percent, at 1,349.93.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks up on positive global lead
May 26,2016

Headline equities of the Asia Pacific market closed mostly higher on Thursday, 26 May 2016, on following gains in the Wall Street overnight and continued gain in crude oil prices. But move on the upside capped as investors were awaiting a speech by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen on Friday that will shed more light on whether U.S. interest rates will be raised as early as next month.

U.S. crude and Brent oil futures climbed above $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in nearly seven months as a global supply glut that plagued the market for nearly two years showed signs of easing. Oil prices have rallied in recent weeks as a string of outages, due in part to wildfires in Canada and unrest in Nigeria and Libya, knocked out nearly 4 million barrels per day of production. Global benchmark Brent crude oil was up 60 cents at $50.34 a barrel at 7:49 a.m. ET, after a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude oil inventories last week indicated buyers are starting to mop up spare supply. U.S. crude futures were up 52 cents at $50.08 a barrel, the highest since mid-October.

The recent comments by Fed policymakers have put a possible rate hike this summer firmly on the table for discussion. U.S. interest rate futures are still pricing in only about one-third chance of a rate hike in June and about 60 percent likelihood by July.

Financial markets have a more appropriate reading now on the chances of a U.S. interest rate rise in June than before, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday. I think they read the minutes correctly, Bullard told reporters after a speech in Singapore, referring to the minutes of the Feds latest policy meeting in April.Global investors, many of whom had assumed the Federal Reserve was in no rush to raise interest rates, were jolted last week by the minutes which suggested most policymakers felt the U.S. economy could be ready for another rate increase in June.Bullard said is keeping an open mind on whether the Fed should raise interest rates at its June 14-15 meeting, adding that he wanted to see economic data that is available then.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market ends higher

Australian share market closed slight higher on the back of strength in energy and material stocks thanks to strength in crude oil and base metal prices. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 15.60 points, or 0.29%, to 5388.10. The broader All Ordinaries added 15.10 points, or 0.28%, to 5451.90. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 554 to 432 and 316 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 0.01% to 16.857 a new 1-month low.

Shares of energy players reaped the gains from the rising crude oil prices, with Oil Search up 0.1% to A$6.71, Santos up 4.9% to A$4.49 and Woodside up 2% to A$27.71. Poker machine maker Aristocrat Leisure rose 0.1% to A$12.45 after boosting its net profit for the first half of 2016 by 66% to $A183.2 million due to strong growth in Australia and North America and more punters using its social gaming apps.Materials and resources stocks also rallied. Global miner BHP Billiton advanced 2.7% to A$19.41 and Rio Tinto jumped 1% to A$45.48. Pure-play iron ore producer Fortescue Metals added 2.1% to A$2.96.

Consumer staples were the major drag on the market, with Wesfarmers declining 3.6% to A$40.40 in the wake of Wednesdays A$2.3 billion Target write-down and after a analysts at Deutsche Bank said they now expected a 10% cut in the companys dividend this financial year, from A$2 to A$1.80. Citi also tipped a dividend cut, but by a much lower 3 cents to A$1.97, while Macquarie predicts a reduction to $1.92. Wesfarmers main competitor, Woolworths, also had a poor day, losing 1.2% to A$22.01.

Japan Stocks rise on positive offshore lead

The Japan share market ended slight higher, helped by positive cues from global markets overnight and continued gains in oil prices. But gains were marginal as investors were awaiting comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen for more indications about whether the central bank would raise rates in near term. She is scheduled to speak at Harvard University on Friday. The 225-issue Nikkei average climbed up 15.11 points, or 0.09%, to close at 16,772.46. The Topix index of all first-section issues ended marginal 0.01 point down at 1,342.87. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 940 to 877 and 180 ended unchanged. The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was up 0.08% to 26.19.

Shares of energy explorers were the biggest gainers on the Topix as Inpex Corp. jumped 2.6 percent and refiner JX Holdings added 1.4 percent. Drugmakers provided the second-largest gain on the gauge. Aska Pharmaceutical Co. advanced 4.8 percent, Shionogi & Co. rose 2.3 percent and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. added 1.8 percent. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. climbed 5.3 percent to be the biggest gainer on the Nikkei 225. Haseko Corp. rose 5.2 percent after Daiwa Securities Group raised its rating on the builder to buy from outperform.

Takata Corp. surged 21 percent, the daily limit, after the Nikkei newspaper reported KKR & Co., a private equity firm, may support and take control of the company responsible for the biggest safety recall in auto industry history.

By contrast, shipping stocks were biggest losses on the Topix, with Mitsui OSK Lines down 4 percent. Softbank Group Corp. sank 3.7 percent after Alibaba Group Holding fell the most in four months as the e-commerce giant said its being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its accounting practices and whether they violate federal laws. Softbank owns large equity stakes in Alibaba Group.

China Market ekes out gain on large cap buying

Mainland China stock market eked out gains, as late buying of large cap stocks helped equities bounce off the 2-1/2 month lows hit in the morning session. However, market gain was limited on growing worries that the economy was losing steam again after a promising start to the year. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen added 0.16%, to 3,064.21, while the Shanghai Composite Index grew 0.26%, to 2,822.44 points.

Sentiment toward health of the worlds second largest economy turned bearish after data earlier this week showed Chinas state-owned firms profits fell 8.4 percent year-on-year in the first four months of this year from a year earlier, while their debts surged 18 percent, highlighting the challenges Beijing faces as it tries to restructure the bloated state sector as the economy slows.

Moodys ratings agency said that Chinas authorities have the tools to avert a financial crisis, but erosion of credit quality is likely over the medium term. Chinas growing debt overhang will impose a substantial deadweight cost on the economy that will need to be allocated between the state, banking system, and corporate and household sectors, the credit rating agency said in a report on Thursday.

Shares of material and resources companies advanced, with coal producers leading the advance, with China Coal Energy Co. adding 1.9 percent. Energy companies were boosted as the government allowed retail fuel prices to be increased and Brent surged amid signs global oversupply will ease. China Petroleum & Chemical, known as Sinopec, increased 0.9 percent.

China Molybdenum Co. jumped by the daily 10 percent limit after resuming trade as the producer of niche metals sought to reassure investors that it can manage to fund the planned acquisition of overseas assets totaling more than $4 billion.

By contrast, Airline carriers went lower, with China Eastern Airlines Corp leading declines, down 2.4 percent, as rising fuel prices risk a profits reversal for Chinese airlines, which reported surging earnings last year.

Hong Kong Market ends higher

The Hong Kong stock market closed little changed in narrow trade, helped by positive close on the Wall Street overnight and continued gains in oil prices. But gains were capped on caution before comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen for more indications about whether the central bank would raise rates in near term. The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 29.06 points, or 0.14%, to 20397.11 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, benchmark measure of performance of mainland China enterprises, fell 10.19 points, or 0.12%, to 8526.19. Turnover reduced to HK$46.4 billion from HK$62 billion on Wednesday.

Energy companies rallied the most in Hong Kong, after crude oil prices touched US$50 level in Asia hours today. CNOOC (00883) gained 2% to HK$9.37. Sinopec (00386) added 1.3% to HK$5.32. PetroChina (00857) edged up 0.4% to HK$5.35.

Belle (01880) dipped 6.3% to HK$4.43 after reporting its earnings, which triggered a slew of research houses bearish comments. It became the top blue-chip loser today. Tingyi (00322) and Want Want (00151) saw buying orders support, rising 3% to HK$8.3 and HK$5.64. Want Want was the top blue-chip winner today.

Indian market settles above key levels

Prime Minister Narendra Modis comments in an interview to a foreign newspaper indicating that further economic reforms are on the cards triggered the latest rally on the domestic bourses. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, surged 485.51 points or 1.88% to settle at 26,366.68. The Nifty surged 134.75 points or 1.7% to settle at 8,069.65.

Modi said he had opened up more of the economy to foreign investment and made changes to curb corruption, fill gaps in rural infrastructure and make it easier to do business. He also said that he has an enormous task ahead. The Prime Minister said that he expects the goods and services tax (GST) bill to pass this year. The BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government completed two years in office today, 26 May 2016. The prime minister said that he would look to state governments to further liberalize the countrys rigid labour laws.

Strong Q4 March 2016 results from engineering and construction major L&T and the companys guidance of a 15% growth in order inflow during the current financial year also aided the latest rally on the bourses. L&T shares surged 13.85% after the company announced the results and the order inflow guidance after trading hours yesterday, 25 May 2016.

Capital goods stocks edged higher after the Union Cabinet approved the National Capital Goods policy to support and boost development of this crucial sector. Bank stocks edged higher after global credit rating agency Moodys Investors Service said in a report that the new bankruptcy code will address several key inefficiencies in the current legal framework for asset resolution in India and is credit positive for Indian banks. Yes Bank edged higher after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs cleared the banks proposal for increase in foreign investment limit in the banks equity capital to 74% from 41.87% without any sub-limits.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealands NZX50 inclined 0.58% to 6947.88. South Koreas KOSPI index fell 0.18% to 1957.06. Taiwans Taiex index sank 0.02% to 8394.12. Malaysias KLCI rose 0.01% to 1631.09. Indonesias Jakarta Composite index added 0.24% to 4784.56. Singapores Straits Times index grew 0.24% to 2773.31.

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