Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Asia’s benchmark stock index was little changed as Chinese shares slid on concern funding costs for lenders will remain high even after the central bank injected liquidity. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose as the yen reached a five-year low.
Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., China’s second-largest insurer, declined 4.6 percent to lead declines on the Hang Seng Index. Mazda Motor Corp., a Japanese carmaker that gets 73 percent of sales abroad, climbed 3.5 percent. Telstra Corp. rose 1.8 percent, pushing Australia’s benchmark index to the biggest weekly gain in almost eight months, after agreeing to sell its Hong Kong mobile phone business.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 138.36 as of 7:06 p.m. in Hong Kong, for a 0.3 percent gain this week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares listed in the city retreated 1.4 percent, losing 3.6 percent this week. The Chinese central bank yesterday added funding to selected lenders using short-term liquidity operations after money-market rates surged.
“Even though the People’s Bank of China yesterday injected little bit of funds to the market, it may not be enough and liquidity is bound to remain tight because it’s year-end,” said Ben Kwong, Hong Kong-based chief operating officer at brokerage KGI Asia Ltd. “Higher interbank rates will continue to depress the Hong Kong stock market.”
Seven of 10 industry groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific gauge fell. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank 0.3 percent, and China’s Shanghai Composite retreated 2 percent. Ping An lost 4.6 percent to HK$67.10.
The Nikkei 225 climbed 0.1 percent, erasing declines of as much as 0.7 percent in final two minutes of trading today, as the yen weakened to 104.59 per dollar, the lowest since October 2008. Japan’s broader Topix index fell 0.1 percent.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board kept their pledge to expand the monetary base by an annual 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($670 billion) today after a two-day policy meeting in Tokyo. The decision was in line with all 35 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Topix rose 47 percent this year, the most among 24 major developed markets tracked by Bloomberg, amid unprecedented stimulus by the Bank of Japan in support of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to end 15 years of deflation.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.2 percent, posting the biggest weekly advance since April. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.4 percent, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex Index was little changed. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index jumped 1.8 percent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 7 percent this year as central-bank stimulus shored up global economic growth. The gauge traded at 13.7 times estimated earnings, compared with 16.3 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 15.1 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Federal Reserve will reduce bond purchases in $10 billion increments over the next seven meetings before ending its stimulus program in December 2014, according to the median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 0.2 percent today. The gauge yesterday lost 0.1 percent in New York after surging 1.7 percent to a record the previous day when the Fed decided to cut stimulus.
Telstra gained 1.8 percent to A$5.20. HKT Ltd., a unit of billionaire Richard Li’s PCCW Ltd., agreed to buy Telstra’s Hong Kong mobile-phone unit for $2.43 billion to boost scale in a market with more than twice as many subscribers as people.
Hanwha Chemical Corp. climbed 2.9 percent to 21,050 won in Seoul as Hana Daetoo Securities said the solar-energy industry will see strong demand into next year.
McDonald’s Holdings Co. Japan Ltd. declined 1.4 percent to 2,733 yen after cutting its full-year profit forecast by more than half in the Big Mac-maker’s second-largest market.
China Everbright Bank Co. slumped 2.8 percent to HK$3.87 on its debut today in Hong Kong after raising $3 billion in the city’s biggest initial public offering this year.
Hanergy Solar Group Ltd., a Beijing-based renewable-energy producer, tumbled 16 percent to 79 Hong Kong cents before trading of the shares was suspended today. The stock has fallen for six days, the longest losing streak since April 2010.
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