Japan Pumps Cash into Faltering Economy, Chinese Real Estate Gains
In Asia Friday Japan's Nikkei sank 2.5% to end the day at 9,785. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 19,546 and China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.1% to close at 2,584.
In sharp contrast to the gloom cast over the Japanese stock market, a platinum toy car worth about 7 million yen ($78,000) glimmered in the window of a Japanese shop. The car (pictured at right) was made in honor of the 40th anniversary of Tomy's Tomica toy cars, according to the Japan Times. But today Tomy probably wasn't much in the mood to celebrate as the toymaker's share price slumped 3.7%, along with most other Japanese stocks.
Makers of real cars and trucks plunged, despite an announcement by the Bank of Japan, saying it would pump 1 trillion yen ($11.1 billion) into the economy in an attempt to stabilize financial markets rocked by Europe's debt crisis, says Bloomberg. Hino Motors, which makes buses and trucks, tumbled 3.4%, Mazda dived 2.9%, Honda lost 2.5% and Isuzu slumped 2.1%. Toyota fell 1.9% after news broke yesterday that it will have a $50 million stake in Tesla Motors and plans to take over a now closed California plant to make an electric-powered sedan, according to CNBC.
Nippon Electric Glass lost 3.9% and Asahi Glass, which makes windows for automobiles as well as LCD screens, declined 2.4%.
Among electronics makers, which count on sales abroad for a significant part of their revenue. Pioneer was down 4.4%, Casio Computer tumbled 3%, NEC lost 2.7% and Canon fell 2.6%. Panasonic was up 2.6% and Sony managed a 2.3% gain.
In Hong Kong exporters of everything from telecommunications to clothing closed lower. Companies providing Internet and mobile services in Mainland China lost value today with China Unicom sliding 1.7% and Tencent losing 1.6%. Meanwhile Li & Fung, which exports hip clothing to retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Target, sank 2.4% and Esprit, an especially popular brand in Europe, declined 1.2%.
Wharf Holdings, which among other businesses operates two major shopping centers in Hong Kong, tumbled 2% today. The company owns Times Square, a nine-story Causeway Bay shopping mecca that includes both a Lane Crawford and a Marks & Spencer. It also is home to the Food Forum, an entire floor of high-end restaurants. The mall extends below ground where shops line the passageways leading to the MTR, the city's subway system. Lifestyle International Holdings, a department store operator that runs Sogo, a major shopping destination also located in Causeway Bay, sank 2.7%.
In China, speculation that the government would postpone any further tightening gave a big boost to beleaguered real estate shares. Gemdale surged 7.6%, Poly Real Estate soared 6% and China Vanke advanced 4%.
Shanghai Daily reported that policymakers had extended a subsidy for trading in used cars in the city for greener ones, sending shares in SAIC Motor rallying 3.3%. FAW Car rose 3% and Beiqi Foton Motor gained 4%.
Xinjiang Urban Construction and Xinjiang Dushanzi Tianli High & New Tech were today's big winners in China, both skyrocketing to the 10% daily limit after President Hu Jintao promised to fund major developments and pump money into the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The area borders eight countries including Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and India and is China's largest producer of natural gas. It is also said to have major oil reserves. While countries around the world are tightening their belts, China is still looking for ways to expand.