In Japan Monday, the Nikkei Index fell 2.3 percent to close at 9,803, and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index shed 0.6 percent, ending the day at 21,620. In China, shares were higher, with the Shanghai Composite Index gaining 2.7 percent, settling at 3,077.
Shares in Hong Kong property developers dipped today as reports of a fall in weekend home sales sent a breeze across the overheated property market. Sino Land Co. (SNLAY) slipped 2.4 percent, New World Development Ltd. (NDVLY) declined 1.9 percent, and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SUHJY) lost 1.6 percent. Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. (HLDVF), which recently conducted the sale of the most expensive property in the world, added 0.5 percent.
Today's biggest winners in Japan were consumer lenders, which surged on the news that the government could be planning to ease regulations on interest rates and borrowing amounts. Consumer lender Takefuji Corp. (TAKAY) soared 23 percent while both Acom Co. (ACMUY) and Aiful Corp. (AIFLY) spiked 17 percent.
Meanwhile disappointing earnings sent shares in many Japanese companies sliding. Electric wire maker Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. (SMTOY) plunged 5.7 percent. Sumitomo has been hit with a 35 percent drop in sales due to lower orders from carmakers, according to Bloomberg. Office equipment maker Brother Industries Ltd. (BRTHY) also dropped 5 percent citing a major drop in sales, and Brokerage firm Daiwa Securities lost 4.5 percent.
Shares in Japanese carmakers slumped, with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association predicting a drop in Japanese car sales of 8.5 percent for the year despite this month's rise in sales. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANF) fell 3.3 percent, Mazda Motor Corp. (MZDAF) lost 3.3 percent, Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) dropped 2.5 percent and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (HMC) retreated 2.1 percent.
In China, carmakers were up, with Ford's Chinese partner Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. spiking 7.4 percent after posting gains for the third quarter. GM and Volkswagon partner SAIC Motor added 6.3 percent, posting massive gains for the quarter, spurred by increased demand for their cars.
Healthcare stocks soared in China as swine flu continues to spread. Hualan Biological and Beijing Tiantan Biological Products Corp, both of which are filling government orders for vaccines, surged today. Both drugmakers hit the 10 percent daily limit.
Over the weekend, Shanghai's mayor disclosed that the city may become the home of the next Disney theme park. Planners are currently discussing building a park in the new gotham-like Pudong business area, home to the distinctive Oriental Pearl TV Tower (the one with two spheres). The $3.6 billion project would bring massive building contracts to the region, sending Shanghai Developer Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co. (SGJFY) surging 8.9 percent. Meanwhile, Shanghai Jielong Industry Corp., a printing company that owns much of the land where the park would be built, according to the Wall Street Journal, skyrocketed 10 percent.
As the Chinese economy continues to grow, it's not surprising that Disney and other American companies are looking east for returns on their investments.