Accessibility links

Asian Markets Close Mixed - 2004-06-11

Asian markets closed mixed this week as hesitant investors weighed news of falling oil prices and signs that China's economy is cooling.

Falling oil prices lifted Asian markets early this week, but concerns about China's economy and the strong possibility of an increase in U.S. interest rates kept trading light Thursday and Friday.

Norman Ho, a fund manager at Value Partners in Hong Kong says investors are waiting for evidence that China's economic slowdown will be a soft one.

"As expected I think the key issue is the soft landing in China, cooling of the economy and so people are waiting for signs, that this is the case," he said.

Another reason investors in Asian markets are hesitant is that the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to announce an interest rate increase soon. New York markets were closed Friday to mark President Ronald Reagan's funeral. In the absence of clear signals from the United States, traders took profits in Asian markets on Friday.

Evidence that Japan's economy is on the rebound lifted the Nikkei average by 398 points this week. Japan reported a more than 10 percent increase in core machinery orders, which economists consider a sign of lasting economic recovery. South Korea's Kospi index opened at 751, down one percent from last Friday's close, or 29 points for the week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng market advanced late in the week, with the debut of shares of Chinese milk producer Mengniu.