August 26, 2012

Asian stocks mixed on stimulus hopes, Samsung falls

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Monday amid hopes of new easing measures by the United States and diplomatic manoeuvring on Greece, but Samsung shares plunged after a US court ruling in favour of rival Apple.
Tokyo climbed 0.34 percent, Sydney rose 0.28 percent, Hong Kong was flat, while Shanghai fell 0.99 percent.
Seoul was down 0.13 percent as shares of Samsung fell sharply after a US court fined the South Korean technology giant $1.05 billion for infringing on six of Apple's technology patents.
Samsung has said it would contest the verdict that analysts say could have huge market repercussions, but the stock opened 6.8 percent lower and at one point fell by as much as 7.7 percent, its lowest intra day level in a month.
Markets were rife with speculation over possible stimulus measures in the United States after minutes released last week from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed US central bankers worried about slowing growth.
Investors are now looking ahead for further clues to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at an annual economic policy symposium to be attended by central bankers and economists later this week.
"We have got through a quiet August," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital in Australia.
"And we are now coming up to a peak period in terms of events where the market patience might wear out if the policy action doesn't come out," he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Europe was also in the spotlight after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, with both leaders affirming they wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone.
But markets were braced for further tough negotiations as Merkel said she was awaiting a report by global lenders reviewing the debt-burdened country's performance on reform targets before agreeing to revisit any terms.
The European common currency bought $1.2511 and 98.54 yen in Asian trade, compared with $1.2512 and 98.43 yen in New York late Friday.
The dollar bought 78.79 yen against 78.67 yen in US trade.
In oil markets, New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery soared $1.35 to $97.50 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October gained $1.40 to $114.99.
Gold was at $1,675.55 at 0305 GMT, compared to $1,665.90 on Friday.


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