Asia closes flat amid lacklustre trading

Stocks on Asian bourses yesterday moved in a restricted range following the marginal participation of institutions and investors.

However, machine stocks witnessed some buying support. With just 1.6 billion shares trading on the bourse, the trading volume was subdued on the Tokyo exchange well below last year's daily average of 2.3 billion.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones, 961 to 558. Japan's Nikkei average was flat as the index shed 0.04 per cent, or 3.73 points, to close at 10563.92.

The Hang Seng index recorded a modest gain of 0.93 per cent, or 38.37 points, and closed at 4165.40. India's Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) added 0.27 per cent, or 45.79 points, to close at 17098.33.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended lower 0.66 per cent, or 20.21 points, at 3048.93 after rising 0.52 per cent on Tuesday. Buying by foreign investors has also supported Japanese stocks since late last year and their buying has remained robust in 2010, with their net buying totalling ¥1.8 trillion (Dh73bn) so far this year, Ministry of Finance data showed. The Shanghai index has been confined to a 3000 to 3100 points range for nearly two weeks, weighed down by worries that the authorities will tighten monetary policy further.

Economists expect China's February CPI to rise 2.3 per cent from a year earlier, according to the median forecast in a survey.

Losing Shanghai stocks outnumbered winners by 686 to 204, while turnover fell to 99bn yuan (Dh53bn) from Tuesday's 107bn yuan. Property shares eased with the Shanghai property index down 1.44 per cent after rising more than four per cent over the previous two sessions on comments by government officials suggesting that no fresh moves were imminent to cool the Chinese property market.

On the other, Japan's core machinery orders fell 3.7 per cent in January from the previous month, smaller than a median market forecast for a 4.1 per cent fall.


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