Shares in Japanese Nuclear Plant Builders Rise, Chinese Nuclear Leak Under Control


Shares in Asia crept higher Tuesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up 0.1% and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index added 0.1%. Markets in China remained closed for Dragon Boat Festivities and races.

A leak at a Chinese nuclear plant located about 30 miles from Hong Kong is now reported to be under control. The Chinese government had kept the incident secret until reporters from Washington-based Radio Free Asia began investigating. Apparently, there was a small leak from a cooling unit, which released radioactive iodine into the air, according to the Straits Times. The reactor supplies a huge amount of electricity to Hong Kong, helping keep the city well lit and intensely air-conditioned at all times.

The Daya Bay nuclear reactor where the leak occurred was made by the French company Framatome, but today shares of Japanese nuclear power plant exporters rose. Hitachi, which works with General Electric to design reactors for countries around the world, climbed 1.7%. Toshiba, which owns Westinghouse Electric, inched up 0.4%. Kansai Power rose 1.5% and Chubu Electric Power, which owns one nuclear power station in Japan, gained 0.8%.

In other news the Bank of Japan today announced it would make $33 billion available to increase bank lending. This buoyed shares of Japanese brokerages with Mizuho Securities rallying 4.1%, Nomura rising 1.9% and Daiwa Securities advancing 1.8%. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 0.5%, while Mitsubishi UFJ slipped 0.2%.

Nissan Motor got a boost today from a Macquarie analyst who raised the company's rating to "outperform," according to Bloomberg. Shares in Nissan spiked 3.3% while Isuzu climbed 1.7%, Mazda advanced 1.3% and Toyota made gains of 1.1%.

In Hong Kong, some retailing and exporting companies gained ground with Li & Fung, the distributor of toys, clothing and furniture to major chains like Wal-Mart and Target, rising 2.2%. China Resource Enterprises, a multi-faceted company that sells processed meat products and frozen Chinese delicacies, distributes the famous Snow beer as well as traditional Chinese arts and crafts, advanced 2.1%. Foxconn, the mobile phone-making giant that manufactures iPhones and iPads and has now become known for the high number of suicides among its employees, added 2.4%. Esprit, the trendy clothing maker which counts on Europe for most of its sales, sank 3.3%.

Among Hong Kong-listed real estate companies, Sun Hung Kai rose 1% and New World Development gained 0.8%. Swire Pacific closed up 1.3%. The wide-ranging company does real estate deals, runs Cathay Pacific, and has the franchise for Coca-Cola in Hong Kong, Taiwan and parts of China. In today's market, diversification is the name of the game.