U.S. Markets closed

Sensex Leads Asia; U.S. Jobs in Focus

Rouhan Sharma

The Sensex hit fresh records Friday even as investors around the region awaited cues from the monthly U.S. jobs report due later today as well as a busy schedule next week that features lots of data from China and a Bank of Japan interest rate decision.

The Nikkei traded flat. The Shanghai Composite was down half a percent while the Hang Seng also declined 0.5%. The Sensex gained 1% to another new record as the new Indian government took a series of rapid steps and demonstrated solid intent towards fulfilling its poll promises. The All Ordinaries was up 0.4%.

Earlier Friday, the World Bank said China is likely to meet its economic growth target of 7.5% this year but it must persevere with fiscal and financial sector reforms. The World Bank noted growth could slow to around 7.5% in 2015.

The IMF said Thursday it expected a growth rate of 7.5% this year which would slow to around 7% next year.

Stocks on the Move

Softbank was down 1.6% as its Sprint unit reportedly moved closer to agreeing a deal to purchase T-Mobile US.

Tokyo Gas was down 1.1%. The Nikkei reported the company was raising its bond issuance and also looking at other ways of raising funds.

Sharp Corp. extended gains as it rose a further 2% on the back of a broker upgrade yesterday.

Sony was down 0.8% but Toshiba gained almost a percent. NEC edged 0.3% lower while Kyocera and Canon were also down about half a percent each. Hitachi was down 1.2%.

In Hong Kong, Shimao Property Holdings fell 2.8% after reporting a drop in May sales.

Evergrande Real Estate Group was down 1.4% as it gave up about half of yesterday’s gains.

On its trading debut, Qingdao Port International dipped below its IPO price on concerns after a probe into metal financing at the port.

Italian fashion house Prada sank about 6% after the company signaled a possible cut in full-year estimates after a drop in first-quarter sales in its key Europe and Asia markets.

Casino stocks were all in the red as Wynn Macau and Galaxy Entertainment dropped 2.2% and 2% each, respectively on the back of lower than expected revenue data earlier this week.

The Sensex extended yesterday’s closing record as heavyweight stocks moved higher. State-owned ONGC added 7.8% after the government said it will decide on gas prices by July 1. Reliance Industries jumped 3.2% while Gail India was up 4.8%.

Other gainers included Hero MotoCorp, up 2.4%, HDFC, up 2.2%, ICICI Bank, up 2.1%, and Dr. Reddy’s Lab, up 1.7%.

Outside the Sensex, sugar producer Bajaj Hindusthan added 7.7% after a minister said the government may increase subsidy on overseas shipments.

In Sydney, Sundance Resources fell 13% after the company said it had appointed African engineering firm Mota-Engil Africa to build the $3.5 billion port and rail facilities for its iron-ore project along the Cameroon-Congo border.

Fortescue Metals fell 2.8% while Atlas Iron also weakened 2.9%.