International Market News

Asia stocks subdued, Nikkei weak on profit taking



HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets were subdued on Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei faltering as investors locked in profits after a strong rally.

Profit taking set in following a sharp rise in Tokyo the day before and as comments from the country's central bank governor left investors unimpressed.

Other regional benchmarks were unable to find direction as disappointing first-quarter earnings reports from IBM and Google after the U.S. closing bell offset supportive comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said the central bank would continue to provide stimulus for the job market.

A rally in major U.S. benchmarks, which closed at least 1 percent higher, failed to filter through to Asia.

Trading was thin in some markets such as Hong Kong and Australia ahead of a long weekend.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index recouped earlier losses to edge up 0.2 percent to 14,362.94 after rising 3 percent on Wednesday.

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech that the bank would make adjustments as needed to its ultra-loose monetary policy, and he reiterated his confidence that the policy is having the desired effect of stimulating the economy, according to Kyodo news agency.

South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.2 percent to 1,987.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.3 percent to 22,759.41 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6 percent to 5,452.50. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 percent to 2,101.37.

On Wall Street, the Dow rose 1 percent to 16,424.85 and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 1.1 percent to 1,862.31. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.3 percent to 4,086.22.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil for May delivery was up 24 cents to $104.00. The contract rose 1 cent to settle at $103.76 on Wednesday.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 102.03 yen from 102.22 in late trading Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.3842 from $1.3820.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.