HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mainly higher Monday after the majority of eurozone banks were given a clean bill of health by the European Central Bank.
But China was hit by the postponement of a planned stock-trading connection between Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Tokyo ended up 0.63 per cent, or 97.08 points, at 15,388.72, Seoul climbed 0.33 per cent, or 6.28 points, to close at 1,931.97, and Sydney was up 46.8 points, or 0.86 per cent, to end at 5,459.0.
Shanghai dropped 0.51 per cent, or 11.84 points, to close at 2,290.44, while Hong Kong was down 0.68 per cent, or 158.97 points to 23,143.23.
The Chinese markets were affected by the delay of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect programme, which would enable international investors to trade selected stocks in Shanghai’s tightly-restricted exchange, and allow mainland investors to buy stocks in Hong Kong.
The scheme was widely expected to be launched this week.
But Charles Li, the head of Hong Kong’s stock exchange, said on Monday the tie-up had been postponed, and warned that pro-democracy protests that have gripped the city for the past month could have an impact on the scheme’s progress.
Investors have also reportedly expressed concern about a lack of clarity on taxation and other costs relating to use of the platform.
Other markets were boosted by a stable euro after about 80 per cent of eurozone banks passed the ECB health test, fuelling hopes that a major cause of economic uncertainty could soon be eliminated.
The common currency rose to $1.2704 and 137.14 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from $1.2666 and 136.97 yen in New York Friday afternoon.
In the most in-depth and stringent audit of eurozone banks ever undertaken – aimed at preventing a repeat of the crisis that nearly led to the euro’s collapse – the ECB found that 25 out of a total 130 banks had a combined capital shortfall of 25 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2013.
It was “positive” that the capital shortage was within expectations and all major banks cleared the stress tests, said Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.
“Risks that the European crisis will occur again are extremely low,” he said in a note, adding the ECB has been supplying ample funds.
The dollar was at 107.94 yen from 108.14 yen in US trade Friday afternoon.
US stocks Friday capped a strong week on a high note as good earnings from Microsoft and others overshadowed a poor report from Amazon.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.76 per cent while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.71 per cent.
World oil prices were mixed Monday. The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December was up one cent to $81.02 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade, reversing earlier losses, while Brent crude for December eased 20 cents to $85.93.
Gold was at $1,229.34 an ounce against $1,233.37 late Friday.