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ASIA MARKETS: Tech Stocks Lead Recovery In Asian Markets

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12/28/2017 | 03:05am CET

By Kenan Machado

Hyundai Heavy Industries gains after massive loss Wednesday

Tech stocks continued to rebound early Thursday in South Korea and Taiwan, leading those markets higher, as other indexes in Asia were little changed.

The Kospi and Taiex each rose 0.8% after rebounding Wednesday following worries about iPhone demand.

Samsung Electronics (>> Samsung Electronics Co Ltd) and smaller chip maker SK Hynix (>> SK Hynix Inc) each rose more than 1.5% in South Korea on Thursday, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (>> Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd.) and Apple product assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry (>> Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.) logged similar gains.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Heavy Industries (>> Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd) rebounded 4% after its record 29% plunge a day earlier. The world's largest shipbuilder said earlier this week it would sell stock in 2018 to raise money to fund operations. It also gave guidance through next year.

Elsewhere in Asia, market moves were small. Benchmarks in Japan, New Zealand and Australia are on at the cusp of setting fresh record or multiyear closing highs Thursday.

Investors are reluctant to buy Japanese markets given "bets on further stimulus (from the Bank of Japan) coming through equities are far less now," said Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Bank.

The U.S. continued to drift early Thursday in Asia, with analysts saying typical year-end demand for the currency from large firms has been lower. The WSJ Dollar Index, down the past three sessions, was recently off 0.1%, at its lowest level of the month.

The Australian dollar rebounded further on gains in commodity prices. U.S. copper futures on Wednesday barely rose but still notched a 15th-straight gain, the longest streak since at least 1984, according to financial-data firm FactSet.

Reports that China's largest producer, Jiangxi Copper, had been ordered to halt output for a week to curb pollution fueled recent gains.

"It seems increasingly likely that production cuts to protect the environment (in China) are going to be an ongoing feature of the metals-market landscape," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC. That should help support mining stocks and the Australian dollar, he said.

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