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Asian markets open mixed on profit-taking by investors

Asian markets open mixed on profit-taking by investors
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First Published: Tue, Apr 10 2007. 06 43 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Apr 10 2007. 06 43 PM IST
Tokyo/Hong Kong: The Nikkei average fell 0.58% on 10 April as investors took profits on recent gainers such as Sony Corp. after the benchmark logged its highest close in nearly six weeks the previous session.
Shares of high-tech glass maker Hoya Corp. and Pentax Corp. declined after a Pentax executive said the board of the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker is expected on Tuesday to scrap a planned share-swap merger of the two companies.
The Nikkei finished the morning down 103.10 points at 17,640.66. The TOPIX fell 0.42% to 1,730.78.
Hong Kong stocks rose 1.02% on Tuesday, following gains in regional markets and as ZTE led H shares, rising more than 8% after it won an order to supply equipment for the country’s first high-speed wireless network.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened at 20,416.54. The Hang Seng H-share Index had jumped 1.06% by 0203 GMT.
The dollar traded near a six-week high against the yen on Monday, as a strong reading on U.S. job creation on Friday tempered investors’ expectations of a near-term interest rate cut.
Demand for the greenback rose after a government report showed the U.S. economy added 180,000 jobs last month, well above economists’ forecasts, while the jobless rate fell.
That eased concern about a manufacturing slump and suggested the Federal Reserve would not need to cut rates in coming months to boost a slowing economy.
In late afternoon trading in New York, the dollar was little changed at 119.32 yen, near a post-jobs report peak of 119.39 on Friday, its highest since 27 February.
The euro was 0.1% weaker at $1.3360, while sterling fell 0.2% to $1.9616.
Another major mover on Monday was the Swiss franc. The dollar rose earlier to about a 1-month high of 1.2284 and the Swiss franc also slid 0.2% against the euro to trade at 1.6384. Earlier, the euro traded at 1.6389 against the franc, the highest since September 1998.
Gold finished lower in New York on Monday, as a sharp fall in crude oil prices and a higher dollar offset light buying triggered by a strong U.S. jobs report last Friday.
London and some European and Asian markets remained closed because of the Easter Monday holiday. There were also no London fixes for gold, silver, platinum and palladium on Monday. Normal trade resumes Tuesday.
Spot gold <XAU=> was quoted at $671.50/672.50 an ounce by 3:06 pm EDT, after hitting a session-high of $677.80, down from $674.40/674.90 late in New York on Thursday.
Most-active gold futures for June delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled down $2.50 at $676.90 an ounce, traded between $675.60 and $683.10.
Sentiment in precious metals trading was dampened by falling U.S. crude futures after Iran released 15 British sailors and marines, easing concerns over supplies from the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter.
U.S. crude oil futures fell more than 4% on Monday to below $62 a barrel due to profit-taking in light post-holiday volume after Iran’s release last week of captured British military personnel.
Traders also took profit as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index roll from the May to June crude contract started.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, May crude fell $2.77, or 4.31%, to settle at $61.51 per barrel, after trading from $61.35 to as high as $64.36 earlier in electronic trading.
The session low was the weakest front-month crude oil futures price since $61.25 on 23 March, the day Iran took the British personnel captive.
In London, May Brent crude fell $1.65 to settle at $66.59, having traded from $66.38 to $68.79.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 10 2007. 06 43 PM IST
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