Asia stocks muted as China meeting, US data loom-A A +A
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
MANILA -- Asian stock markets were muted Tuesday as investors readied for U.S. economic news this week and a high-level policy meeting in China.
Benchmarks in Singapore and Australia gained while stocks in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and India fell. Tokyo was little changed.
The week is crammed with possibly market moving data and policy meetings, keeping investment appetite in check.
China's leaders are scheduled to meet in Beijing from November 9 to 12 to craft a new blueprint for the world's No. 2 economy as its state-led growth model runs out of oomph. Hopes are high that the plenum will announce changes to give private businesses a greater say in the economy but reforms will face resistance from officials and state companies who benefit from the status quo.
Elsewhere, the European Central Bank has a meeting Thursday where it may foreshadow a further reduction to record low interest rates. The advance estimate of U.S. third quarter economic growth is due the same day.
"Investors remain cautious ahead of U.S. GDP and jobs number, the ECB decision and China third plenary," said Andrew Sullivan of Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong.
Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed at 14,205.53 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent to 23,051.77. China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.4 percent at 2,140.61. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,430.20.
The U.S. economic data may influence investors' expectations about when the Federal Reserve will begin reducing its economic stimulus.
The Fed's $85 billion in monthly asset purchases have supported economic recovery by keeping interest rates low and have also been one of the reasons why many stock indexes, including the main U.S. markets, have struck record highs.
Following the Fed's latest policy statement last week, some investors think "tapering" of the stimulus may begin as soon as December or January. That weighed on stock markets, which had been buoyed by expectations the Fed wouldn't act until March at the earliest, largely because of the uncertainty created by the partial U.S. government showdown last month.
On Wall Street, stocks finished Monday with small gains sprinkled across industries from airlines to steelmakers as the big indexes continued to trade near record highs.
The S&P 500 increased 6.29 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 1,767.93. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,639.12 and the Nasdaq composite also gained 14.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,936.59.
Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 10 cents at $94.72 in electronic trading at the New York Merchantile Exchange. The contract rose 1 cent to settle Monday at $94.62.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3502 from 1.3520 late Monday. The dollar fell to 98.41 yen from 98.55 yen. (AP)