by: Peter Wells
Stocks around Asia were weaker on Friday after Wall Street staged its biggest retreat in three weeks and despite gains for commodity prices.
Japan’s Topix was down 0.6 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.7 per cent, with materials one of the only sectors to enjoy a gain as commodity prices crept higher.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat, while China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.2 per cent.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent from a record high in what ranked as Wall Street’s biggest one-day fall in three weeks. Low levels of volatility have kept market moves subdued.
Taiwanese and Korean technology stocks are in the limelight this week, responsible for pushing their respective stock markets to multi-year and record highs, respectively.
Taiwan’s Taiex was flat on Friday but had closed above 10,000 points in the previous session for the first time since February 2000 and the dotcom boom. Stocks – particularly Apple suppliers – such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn) have been instrumental in pushing the index higher this year.
South Korea’s Kospi eased 0.4 per cent from Thursday’s record high. While market gains have been driven by heavyweight Samsung Electronics, investors today turned their attention to Netmarble Games, the world’s third-biggest maker of mobile games, which made its debut in Seoul today. Netmarble shares were up as much as 9.2 per cent, but had trimmed that early gain by a little more than half in mid-morning trade.