|Asian markets end year on a brighter note
Asian markets mostly gained today, the last day of the year following another record close on Wall Street, but Shanghai was set to be the region's worst performer over the past 12 months.
While the Dow ended at another all-time high, disappointing US home sales figures sent the US dollar lower after it touched a five-year high against the yen, AFP reports.
In Hong Kong, where trade ended at mid day, the main index added 0.26 percent, or 61.52 points, to close at 23,306.39. The Hang Seng was up by 2.87 percent over the past 12 months.
Sydney was flat, dipping 4.6 points to 5,352, but closed the year more than 15 percent higher. Wellington eased 0.67 percent, or 31.97 points, to 4,737.01 – but finished the year 16.49 percent stronger.
Shanghai added 0.88 percent, or 18.45 points, to end at 2,115.98. But it finished down 6.75 percent for 2013, making it one of the world's worst performers.
Taipei eased 0.14 percent, or 11.92 points, to 8,611.51 – leaving the index up 11.85 percent over the past 12 months.
Tokyo, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were closed.
While Japan's Nikkei closed Monday with a 57 percent advance over the year – its strongest performance in four decades making it the world's best performer – Shanghai ended a torrid 2013.
In June and again in December, a cash crunch in China's financial markets fuelled worries about the economy.
Today's advance followed a pledge by People's Bank of China, to maintain an “appropriate'' level of liquidity, while interbank lending rates eased further after the bank released fresh funds into the financial system.
“The central bank showed the attitude that it didn't want interest rates to stay at unduly high levels by offering short-term liquidity, which eased concerns among financial institutions,'' Xie Yaxuan, an economist with China Merchants Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
In forex trade, the US dollar slipped after data showed US pending home sales gained 0.2 percent in November, the first rise in five months but below the 1.5 percent increase projected by analysts.
The dollar bought 104.98 yen from 105.11 yen in New York, after touching 105.41 yen earlier Monday – its strongest since October 2008.
Gold fetched US$1,198.89 compared with US$1,197.80 late Monday.