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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks up in quite trade, US jobs data eyed for Fed clues
Jun 03,2016

Asia Pacific share market closed higher in quite trade on Friday, on caution ahead of US jobs data later in the global day that could determine the case for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this month or in July.

The US government will unveil the monthly job data for May 2016 later in the global day. The nonfarms payroll data could provide cues on the timing and pace of further interest rates increases from the US Federal Reserve. The job data has implications for the US monetary policy. The US central banks mandate centers on maximizing employment and keeping inflation at a 2% target level. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) next undertakes monetary policy review at a two-day meeting on 14-15 June 2016. The Fed has kept the benchmark fed funds rate unchanged after raising it for the first time in nearly a decade in December 2015.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans today, 3 June 2016, said in prepared remarks at the Global Interdependence Center in London that the Federal Reserve should avoid aggressive tightening of US interest rates if it doesnt want to upset the so-far-so-good economic apple cart. Evans said it may be appropriate to have two 25 basis point moves between now and the end of the year.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Market ups 0.8%

Australian share market advanced for second time this week, as investors chased for bottom fishing on recently beaten down stocks. The stocks fell during midweek amid worries over global issues such as Brexit, coupled with the release of strong domestic growth data that could spell the end to Reserve Bank rate cuts. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 40 points, or 0.76%, to 5318.90. The broader All Ordinaries grew 38.30 points, or 0.72%, to 5392.50.

Healthcare stocks were up after stock research company CLSA expects a sharp sell-off in the aged care sector recently turns a buying opportunity, and as AiGroup found health services were among the key drivers of a 1.8-point rise in its Performance of Services Index in May, which pushed the measure into expansionary territory. Sonic Healthcare was 1.5% higher to A$21.49 while sector heavyweight CSL had lifted 0.7% to A$117.11.

Shares of materials and resources players advanced, helped by an increase in commodity prices. Among the big miners, BHP Billiton added 1.6% to A$18.53 and Rio Tinto rose 1.5% to A$43.54. Iron ore miner Fortescue was up 2.7% to A$3.08.

Energy shares gained ground after oil prices rallied overnight. Crude oil prices rose to a seven-month high, after a weekly US petroleum report showed a decline in the countrys stockpile. Oil explorer Woodside Petroleum grew 0.4% to A$26.86, Santos 3.8% to A$4.41, and Origin 1.3% to A$5.56.

Nikkei gains 0.48%

The Japan share market finished higher, thanks to bargain hunting in heavyweight stocks, spurred by halt in yen appreciation against greenback and gains on the Wall Street overnight. But gains were limited as investors retreated to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. governments release of employment data for May later in the global day, The 225-issue Nikkei average climbed 79.68 points, or 0.48%, to 16,642.23, after falling 393.18 points on Thursday. The Topix index rose 5.42 points, or 0.41%, to close at 1,337.23, after falling 30.26 points the previous day.

Fast Retailing jumped 6.9%, as sales at its Uniqlo shops in Japan in May shot up 5.9% from a year earlier on a same-store basis.

Itoham Yonekyu Holdings shop up 8.20%, after SMBC Nikko Securities revised up its price target for the food producer.

Takata Corp. closed 1.6% higher after reports Bain Capital and PAG Asia Capital are evaluating bids for the scandal-ridden air-bag maker, joining KKR & Co. among those interested in an offer.

Capcom Co. added 3.7%. Bank of America Corp.s Merrill Lynch unit reiterated its buy rating on the stock, citing the release of a new game and higher profits from existing titles.

Fujitsu slumped 3.4% after the Nikkei newspaper reported the computer makers costs to overhaul its data centers could be more than double what was initially estimated.

China Stocks closed up

Mainland China stock market advanced, 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%.

Shares of distilleries companies advanced the most in Mainland market. Liquor maker Kweichow Moutai Co. jumped 6% to a record high and Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery Joint-Stock Co. added 4.4%.

Hong Kong Market ends higher

The Hong Kong stock market finished with gains in quite trade, 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.

Dah Sing Financial (DSF)(00440) and Dah Sing Banking Group (DSBG)(02356) entered agreements to sell its HK and Macau life insurance businesses and become exclusive insurance agent for distribution of life-insurance products at HK$10.6 billion. DSF shot up 3.3% to HK$51.8 as it plans a special dividend after the transaction. DSBG added 1.9% to HK$13.6.

HSBC (00005) and Tencent (00700) will see their respective weightings on the HSI rise and lower to 10% next Monday. HSBC edged up 0.6% to HK$50.8. Tencent also inched up 0.4% to HK$170.8.

OPEC failed to reach an agreement on output, but Brent crude futures stood at US$50/b for the first time in seven months. CNOOC (00883) nudged up 0.3% to HK$883. PetroChina (00857) slipped 0.7% to HK$5.38.

Longyuan Power (00916) soared 7% to HK$6.2 after Macquarie Research lifted its target price and upgraded its rating to outperform. Huaneng Renewables (00958) advanced 3.2% to HK$2.6.

Indian market settles near the flat line

Initial gains for the two key benchmark indices triggered by the weather office retaining its forecast of above normal rains for the 2016 southwest monsoon season could not be sustained as the outcome of monthly survey showed that the rate of growth in Indias services sector eased last month. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, lost 0.11 points to settle at 26,843.03. The Nifty 50 index rose 1.85 points or 0.02% to settle at 8,220.80.

FMCG stocks edged higher after the weather office stuck to its previous forecast of good rains for the 2016 southwest monsoon season. Tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) also edged higher on prospects of above normal rains. Aviation stocks edged lower as global crude oil prices rose. Idea Cellular tumbled on reports that US based private equity firm Providence Equity Partners offloaded a large portion of its stake in the market at a discount to ruling market price.

BPCL edged higher after the companys announcement that it has secured shareholders approval for increase in limit of total shareholding of all registered foreign institutional investors (FIIs) put together to 49% of the paid-up equity share capital of the company from 24%

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region: New Zealands NZX50 declined 0.27% to 7003.12. South Koreas KOSPI index added 0.04% to 1985.85. Taiwans Taiex index added 0.37% to 8587.36. Malaysias KLCI rose 0.36% to 1636.46. Indonesias Jakarta Composite index added 0.43% to 4853.92. Singapores Straits Times index rose 0.51% to 2809.23.

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Australia Market ups 0.8% on bottom fishing
Jun 03,2016

Australian share market advanced for second time this week on Friday, 03 June 2016, as investors chased for bottom fishing on recently beaten down stocks. The stocks fell during midweek amid worries over global issues such as Brexit, coupled with the release of strong domestic growth data that could spell the end to Reserve Bank rate cuts. At close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 40 points, or 0.76%, to 5318.90. The broader All Ordinaries grew 38.30 points, or 0.72%, to 5392.50.

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Nikkei gains 0.48%
Jun 03,2016

The Japan share market finished higher on Friday, 03 June 2016, thanks to bargain hunting in heavyweight stocks, spurred by halt in yen appreciation against greenback and gains on the Wall Street overnight. But gains were limited as investors retreated to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. governments release of employment data for May later in the global day, The 225-issue Nikkei average climbed 79.68 points, or 0.48%, to 16,642.23, after falling 393.18 points on Thursday. The Topix index rose 5.42 points, or 0.41%, to close at 1,337.23, after falling 30.26 points the previous day.

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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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