Asian Markets: Most shares down, Japan Airlines rises on hope of government bailout

Shares in Asia fell Wednesday. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5 percent to close at 3,071 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.3 percent settling at 22,318. Japan's Nikkei was little changed, ending the day at 10,333 – a loss of 0.03 percent.

In China, metals stocks followed the lead from London where the London Metals Index, which gauges the price of metals, receded from a two-month high and the price of gold slipped below $1,060. Zhongjin Gold Corp. plunged 3.1 percent, Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd. slid 3 percent, Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. (ZIJMF) dropped 2 percent and Jiangxi Copper Co. (JIXAY) lost 0.8 percent.

Carmaker stocks suffered as SAIC Motor Co. slumped 3.6 percent and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. dropped 1.1 percent while banks and brokerages were on the rise: Citic Securities added 2.2 percent to 28.75 yuan, Haitong Securities gained 2.3 percent, and China Minsheng Banking Corp. gained 1.6 percent.

In Tokyo, Japan Airlines Corp. (JALSY) rose 6.8 percent as optimism that a government rescue is on the way continues to grow. According to Bloomberg, the airline may be set to receive 300 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in assistance, but the real estate sector dragged the index down. Property company Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd. (MTSFF) sank 4.1 percent. Developer Tokyu Land Corp. (TOLAY) slid 1.2 percent

In Japan's electronics sector, Toshiba Corp. (TOSBF) surged 4 percent and Alps Electric Co. Ltd. (APELY) climbed 4.2 percent. Competitor NEC Corp. (NIPNF) slid 2.1 percent. NEC, which is a shareholder in Hitatchi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp., last week announced a major investment in semiconductor company Renesas Technology Corp.

On the fashion front, always cutting-edge in Japan, mega clothing chain operator Fast Retailing Co. (FRCOY) surged 5 percent and high-end cosmetics company Shiseido Co Ltd. (SSDOF) climbed 2.8.

In Hong Kong, shares in China Telecom Corp. (CHJAF) dropped 2.6 percent and China Mobile Ltd. (CHL) fell 1.9 percent after both companies reported lower than expected earnings.

Hong Kong-listed oil producers also slid with Cnooc Ltd. (CEO) losing 2.1 percent and PetroChina Co. (PTR) falling 0.8 percent. But the market's losses were nearly balanced out by gains as electricity producers added value; Huaneng Power International Inc. (HNP), soared 7.5 percent, China Resources Power Holdings Co. (CRPJF) surged 4.8 percent and Datang International Power Generation Co. (DIPGF), rose 4 percent.

Henderson Land Development Co. (HLDVF), which recently sold one of the most expensive properties in the world, gained 2.6 percent today, but Hong Kong's biggest gainer was Guangzhou Investment Co. Ltd. (GUAZF), which posted an incredible 28 percent gain for the day after announcing it will focus on its real estate investments. Not a bad plan in a region now famous for high-priced luxury housing.
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