KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets diverged at the end of Wednesday’s trade, despite news flows from the world’s second largest economy that lifted sentiment after a survey by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics indicated that manufacturing in China might contract at a slower pace this month. However, this came against a backdrop of weaker corporate results in the United States and concerns about further deterioration in the euro-zone economy. At 5pm today, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.67% to 8,954.30 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was higher by 0.31% to 21,763.78. The Shanghai Composite Index was 0.07% higher at 2,115.99 while South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 0.67% to 1,913.96. Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 0.20% to 3,044.73 while the local bourse’s benchmark index was up 0.19% to 1,667.99. At Bursa Malaysia, gainers outpaced losers by 411 to 271 while 338 other counters were traded unchanged. There were 1.13 billion shares done with a total turnover of RM1.466 billion. Among the gainers were UEMLAND which rose 22 sen to RM2.15, ASTRO which was up 17 sen to RM2.89 and SUNWAY which gained 19 sen to RM2.50. ASTRO was also the top most active stock today, with 64.64 million shares changing hands. UEMLAND was the fourth most active stock today, with 39 million shares changing hands. The losers includedAIRASIA which fell 5 sen to RM3.04, TAKAFUL which lost 9 sen to RM4.69 and MAYBANK which fell 5 sen to RM9.00. At 5pm today, Nymex crude oil in electronic trade was US$0.05 higher at US$86.72 per barrel while Brent crude rose US$0.38 to US$108.63. Spot gold rose US$1.77 to US$1,709.40 per ounce while spot silver rose 21 cents to US$31.90. Crude palm oil futures for January 2013 delivery rose RM24 to RM2,564 per tonne. The ringgit was quoted at RM3.06 to the US dollar and RM3.96 to the euro.

(Source: Thestar.com.my)