Asian shares mostly lower amid uncertainly over US
Saturday, 27 September 2008

AP, SHANGHAI, China -- Shares fell across Asia on Friday, as investors refrained from major moves while watching to see what will come of a massive U.S. bailout plan to revive the crippled financial system.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 113.37 points, or 0.94 percent, to 11,893.16 as investors wary over the U.S. government's $700 billion bank rescue plan unloaded shares.
 
Shares also fell in Hong Kong, where the blue chip Hang Seng Index lost 1.33 percent to 18,682.09.
 
Relief at an apparent breakthrough midday Thursday gave way to concern later as Republican ire over the size of the bailout package threatened to stall the Bush Administration's efforts to ward off an economic meltdown.
 
Worries deepened after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Thursday seized Seattle-based Washington Mutual, Inc., one of the biggest U.S. lenders. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Inc. came to its rescue by buying the thrift's banking assets.
 
''Japan, along with the rest of the world, was really at the mercy of U.S. events last week and this week,'' said Masayoshi Okamoto, equity strategist at Jujiya Securities in Tokyo.
 
The Bank of Japan injected another 1.5 trillion yen ($14.1 billion) into Tokyo money markets Friday to boost liquidity, bringing to 16.5 trillion yen ($155.2 billion) the amount it has injected since the demise of U.S. investment banks Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Morgan Stanley.
 
Shares sensitive to trade fell. Mitsui & Co. shed 5 percent and Mitsui O.S.K. dropped 6.3 percent. But banks advanced, with the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. gaining 1.5 percent and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. adding 1.1 percent.
 
Investors in Hong Kong and mainland China also held back, daunted by the collapse of Washington Mutual, analysts said.
 
''They have lost all confidence. The failure of Washington Mutual just deepened the sentiments,'' said Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities Ltd.
 
''Even if investors want to buy stocks, they have no money,'' Lun said.
 
Most blue chips were lower Friday. China Mobile fell 3.1 percent, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, dropped 3.8 percent and upstream producer CNOOC slid 2.4 percent.
 
Mainland China shares were mixed as traders avoided major moves ahead of a weeklong holiday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edging 0.16 percent lower, to 2,293.78.
 
''Some investors worried about what will happen on Wall Street during the holidays, while others see it as a buying opportunity,'' said Gui Haoming, chief analyst for Shenyin Wanguo Securities.
 
Property shares surged after newspapers reported that regulators will relax a ban on buying stock on credit, with both China Vanke Ltd. and Poly Real Estate surging by the daily 10 percent limit.
 
China's stock markets will reopen Oct. 6.
 
After a volatile month punctuated by a government move to support the markets with heavy buying of shares in state-owned banks and other big companies, the Shanghai Composite Index fell a mere 0.04 percent in September.
 
Elsewhere in the region, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent and Korea's Composite Stock Price Index dropped 1.7 percent.
 
In currencies, the dollar fell to 105.63 yen Friday afternoon in Asia, from 106.24 yen late Thursday. The euro stood at $1.4595 from $1.4641.

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