World Economy

Most Asian Markets Fall

Nikkei Stock Average closed up 1.7%, becoming the region’s biggest outperformer.Nikkei Stock Average closed up 1.7%, becoming the region’s biggest outperformer.

Asian equity markets were mixed Monday, with Japan’s Nikkei outperforming regional markets following stronger-than-expected economic data and a weaker yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average closed up 1.7% at 17,672.62, becoming the region’s biggest outperformer, MarketWatch reported.

In other markets, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.5%, Singapore’s FTSE Straits Times Index was off 0.9%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was last down 1.4%.

Government data in Japan showed that its third-quarter gross domestic product expanded an annualized 2.2% in the three months ended September, beating expectations of a 0.9% expansion, as forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Monday’s data also marked the third straight quarter of expansion in Japan, after a patchy economic performance in the three years since the summer of 2013.

The latest growth figures also showed that residential construction rose in the country, after borrowing rates fell. Lower rates have fueled demand for property investments. Among individual real estate companies, Mitsui Fudosan rose 4.2%, Mitsubishi Estate added 1.9%, and Sumitomo Realty & Development climbed 4.1%.

Meanwhile, the yen fell against the dollar, and was recently down 0.8%, making it cheaper for exporters to ship their goods around the world. Export-oriented stocks surged, with Mazda Motor ending up 5.7% and Toshiba adding 2.2%.

  Trump Effect

Elsewhere in the region, markets were under pressure as investors clung to an optimistic view that US President-elect Donald Trump might be able to stimulate growth in the US economy, following the election last week.

In the foreign-exchange market, Asian currencies continued their post-US election selloff. In addition to the yen, the Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee sank against the US dollar, with investors betting the dollar could continue to strengthen following Trump’s unexpected victory. Indonesia’s stock market was down another 1.6% Monday, adding to Friday’s 4% plunge. India’s stock market is closed for a public holiday.

A selloff continued among Hong Kong property developers given the concerns of a faster interest rate increase in the US, a move that will hurt the city’s real-estate market. The city’s currency peg to the US dollar means that local monetary policies move in lockstep to adjustments in the US.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.5%, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.3%.

Looking ahead, the market will remain focused on the US Federal Reserve meeting in December, with interest rates likely to rise, say analysts. According to CME Group’s Fedwatch tool, the probability of an increase in December has risen to 81.1% from 71.5% previously.

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