Shanghai: Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index pulling back from its first move above 10,000 in eight months amid conflicting signs about the strength of an economic recovery. European bourses traded higher.
Oil prices rose to new highs for the year, climbing above $72 a barrel.
In early European trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1%, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.5%, and France’s CAC-40 gained 0.1%.
Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 10.16 points, or 0.1%, to 9,981.33. It wavered in a narrow range after a surge early in the day took it above the psychologically important 10,000 mark for the first time since 8 October.
But signs of upward pressure on US interest rates, which could quash a nascent economic recovery, and some weak economic data from the region offset gains in Tokyo-listed steel shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 24 points to 8,739.02 Wednesday after the government sold $19 billion in 10-year Treasury notes in a relatively weak auction. The S&P 500 index slipped 3.28, or 0.4%, to 939.15.
Strong investment data from China initially overcame investors’ qualms over an imminent resumption of initial public offerings on the mainland that some fear will flood the market with new shares.
But dismal export numbers from China, and the IPO news, offered investors an excuse to cash in on recent gains after the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index hit a 10-month high on Wednesday.
The Shanghai index slipped 0.7%, or 18.93 points, to 2,797.32 while the Shenzhen Composite Index fell 1% to 922.62.
Hong Kong’s benchmark bounced in volatile trading, ending nearly flat at 18,791.03, up 5.37 points.
“The IPO news is an excuse for a retreat, but it’s not reason for a real correction,” said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong.
Overall, investors remained confident in the economy and trust the regulators to keep a tight rein on IPOs, which in the past have threatened to glut the market with new shares, he said.
“Investor sentiment is strong. Liquidity is still very, very large. It cannot be measured,” he said.
In other markets, rising resource prices pushed Australia’s key index up 0.6 percent, while Singapore’s benchmark fell 0.2%.
Oil prices pared their gains after climbing above $72 a barrel Thursday in Asia to fresh highs for the year amid investor optimism about a global economic recovery. Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 43 cents at $71.75 by late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to ¥97.81 from ¥98.19 late Wednesday, while the euro rose to $1.4000 from $1.3990.