Asia markets trade mostly higher
CNBC: Asian markets traded mostly higher Wednesday, tracking US gains following remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, but shares of Toshiba tumbled.
Toshiba shares dropped 10.4 per cent in the morning session in Tokyo after Reuters reported the company expected to book a $6.3 billion hit to its US nuclear unit and expected to sell more of its prized flash-memory chip business to urgently raise funds. Reuters added, citing a source, that the Japanese company's loans from banks and insurers stood at $7 billion.
Nomura said in a note dated 14 February , it was changing its rating on Toshiba from Buy to Suspended. Analyst Masaya Yamasaki said in the note that Nomura's view on Toshiba had centered on the potential for the memory business.
"The company announced for the first time today that it is considering selling a majority stake in the memory business along with other options for injecting capital from outside sources, making it difficult to price in the memory business' potential," said Yamasaki.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that Toshiba Chairman Shigenori Shiga would resign from his post effective Wednesday, while the former chief executive of Toshiba's US nuclear-plant business Westinghouse Electric, Danny Roderick, was stripped of his executive post, the Journal said.
In other Japanese corporate activity, internet and telecom giant SoftBank announced a $3.3 billion cash acquisition of asset manager Fortress Investment Group. SoftBank shares climbed 1.16 per cent to 8,634.0 yen.
Japanese banks and financial companies beat the broader stock average, with Mitsubishi UFJ up 2.33 per cent, SMFG up 2.17 per cent and Mizuho Financial gaining 1.63 per cent.
Broadly, the Nikkei Stock Average climbed 1.22 per cent, while the Topix traded up 1.11 per cent. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was up 0.42 per cent.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.26 per cent, while Chinese mainland shares were mostly positive. The Shanghai composite was up 0.25 per cent, while the Shenzhen composite traded nearly flat at 1,963.88.
Australia's benchmark ASX 200 climbed 1.03 per cent, as most sectors traded higher. The heavily-weighted financial sector was up 1.92 per cent, with major banks gaining more than 1 per cent each.
Shares of ANZ gained 1.82 per cent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 2.65 per cent, Westpac added 2.11 per cent and the National Australia Bank climbed 2.36 per cent.
Major miner BHP Billiton gained 1.56 per cent in afternoon trade.
Reuters reported that striking workers at Chile's massive Escondida copper mine and BHP, which operates the mine, have agreed to renew talks on Wednesday. The mine produced over 1 million tonnes of copper, about 5 per cent of the world's total in 2016, according to Reuters. Copper prices rose 0.58 per cent to $6,056 a tonne on Wednesday morning, after falling to $6,021 in the previous session.
Fed Chair Yellen said in prepared remarks to Congress that waiting too long to raise interest rates would be "unwise," given the rise in inflation and economic growth.
Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at the National Australia Bank, said in a note the remarks "triggered a sell-off in US Treasury yields and a broad dollar rally as she left the door open for a rate hike as soon as the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting in March."
The dollar climbed against a basket of currencies to trade at 101.20 at 11:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday, from levels below 100.8 in the previous session.
Among major currency pairs, the yen weakened slightly against the dollar to trade at 114.32, down from an earlier high of 114.19. The euro fetched $1.0577, while the Australian dollar traded at $0.7674.
Some analysts believe the dollar could extend gains as Yellen continues her testimony before Congress on Wednesday.
On Wall Street on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 92.25 points, or 0.45 per cent, to end at 20,504.41. The S&P 500 index gained 9.33 points, or 0.40 per cent, to close at 2,337.58, while the Nasdaq advanced 18.62 points, or 0.32 per cent, to end at 5,782.57.
- NUJ 109th Birth anniversary 2687
- Mangala to urge 24-month extension 2689
- Namal slaps CBK with defamation 3389
- Pakistan still eyeing JF-17 Thunder Fighter sale to Sri Lanka 3145
- CID grills govt Printer, Director, others 3184
- LRC seeks Police protection 3137
- MR to meet Tamil and Muslim leaders 3190
- Leprosy hits western province 3144
- skipper of ill-fated boat remanded 3131
- Raggers will be promptly expelled 3154
- Double-speak from SB on Wimal 3157
- VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong-nam 3137
- More snags foul up Constitution making 3283
- NFPWHR warns of massive protest 3134
- Mangala meets US HDP delegation 3141
- SL Police deny ‘hunting’ refugees in HK 3130
- 1500 students denied Uni education 3208
- SLFP CMs to boycott meeting 3129
- Wimal not a party leader – Dayasiri 3132
- New Zealand-bound boat people held 3122
- February – a celebratory month 3112
- Political mayhem 3127
- Significance of Sri Lanka’s legal profession 3118
- A house divided 3103
- Building castles in the air 3108
- Upholding children’s rights 5649
- Now or never for Havies 1610
- Bad light saves day for Isipathana 1610
- Golfer Arumugam no more 1609
- Royal resist late Joes’ onslaught 1610
- Sadeera's 177 n.o. guides SL 'A' 1609
- Sadeera pushes for Test spot 1613
- Wimal gets short shrift 2395
- BASL in the dock 2393
- Ragging: The ugly truth 2392
- Govt gambling with our lives – KPP protesters 2390
- Keppetipola mansion in bad shape 2390
- Diesel Mafia raises its head again... 2390
- SAITM students will not be accepted by any country– Prof. Hiran Amerasekera 3144
- I have no issues with the Minister– Anoma Gamage 3503
- LG elections should be under new system 3334
- Dr. Sivamohan reiterates preference for foreign intervention 2896
- RICE SHORTAGE AND HIGH PRICES BIG MILL OWNERS TO BLAME SAYS ACPF 3045
- I believe in cooperative politics – Karuna 2010
- Google's self-driving firm sues Uber 1812
- Colombo Fashion Week dates for Summer season, 13 – 18 March 1813
- International Thunder Cat Power Boat Racing in Bentota- a thrilling experience 1813
- BPPL Holdings Limited announces Rs. 368 Mn IPO 1814
- Durdans Lab Service adds ‘Predictive Tests’ for disease prevention 1813
- INSEE Cement wins Green Platinum Award at HarithaSihinaya 2017 1813
- CIC to elevate education in rural Agri-Communities 1812
- NTB rewards 50 lucky American Express Cardmembers with latest iPhone 7 1812
- HNB offers new benefit package through agreement with Indra Traders 1815
- Crescent Global sponsors Insurance Awards 1813
- Valencia stun Real Madrid 2729
- GSP+ To sustain economy or to Mutate society? 3045
- Fully fledged Media Commission by June – DGI 3078
- A musical evening-Hindi film songs 2025
- Sitar recital 2023
- Alston Koch to sing at the ‘OSCARS’ after party 2024
- Luang Prabang – A Journey into Sublimity 2025
- Blue all the way 2025
- Footpaths Towards Deconstruction - Part 10 2026
- Employees rewarded 1273
- Training in excellence 1272
- Human – elephant conflict rears up again 1275
- Nature in its wild pristine beauty 1275
- A touch of Yalpanam 1275
- Blood facts 1273
- SS501 1331
- An immersive and inclusive learning experiences 1332
- Emerging future trailblazers 1331
- An educational celebration 1331
- A campaign to target8.4 million Lankans 1333
- An epic battle 1331