Asia Stocks: A Down Day
Asian markets came under heavy selling pressure Wednesday after oil traded through $100 a barrel, fueling rising inflation concerns among investors. The Hang Seng Index fell 532 points, or 2.2%, to 23,509.58, and the Shanghai Composite dropped 97 points, or 2.1%, to 4,567.03.
Chinese alternative energy ADRs weren't shining bright on Wednesday after Suntech Power (STP) forecasted first-quarter and full-year revenue below Wall Street expectations. Suntech forecasted first-quarter revenue of $370 million to $380 million, vs. expectations of $455 million and full-year revenue of $1.9 billion to $2.1 billion, below the $2.24 billion that Wall Street was looking for. Shares of STP were down sharply by 13% on over 7 times average trading volume. Suntech's tepid forecast also helped to take down Trina Solar (TSL) by 6%, LDK Solar (LDK) by 6% and Solarfun Power (SOLF) by 4.5%.
In the technology sector, Sina (SINA) reported a 49% rise in quarterly profits off of strong advertising revenue growth as companies ramp up spending in front of the Beijing Olympics. The Chinese online media firm also forecasted first-quarter revenue to come in at $66 million to $68 million, vs. Wall Street estimates of $66 million. Shares of SINA spiked up 2.4% in after-hours trading on the news.
NetEase.com (NTES) was another winner in the Chinese tech sector in after-hours trading. The company said fourth-quarter profits were $53 million, vs. $43.9 million from a year earlier due to a rise in Internet traffic to its Web sites. Shares of NTES were up 5% in after-hours trading.Another disappointment among the Chinese ADRs was Noah Education (NED). Shares of Noah Education plunged 16% after the Chinese interactive education content developer forecasted net revenue for 2008 in the range of RMB680-690 million, or US$93-$94 million, which is below previously forecasted RMB720-730 million, or US$101-$102 million. On the positive side Wednesday was Shanda Interactive Entertainment (SNDA). The Chinese interactive media firm entered into an agreement for an exclusive license with South Korea's NCsoft Corp to operate online war game Atrix in mainland China in 2009. Shares of SNDA traded up 3% on the news. Other notable advancers among Chinese ADRs were KongZhong (KONG), up 4.5%; China Techfaith Wireless (CNTF), gaining 3.2%; and Melco PBL Entertainment (MPEL), advancing 3%. In the telecom space, China Mobile (CHL) gained 35 cents, or 0.5%, after the firm announced it set a record in January by adding 7.04 million mobile subscribers. Smaller rival China Unicom (CHU) added only 1.43 million mobile subscribers for January. Shares of CHU traded off 1%. Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.
India RecapIndia's Sensitive Index fell hard on Wednesday, dropping 458 points, or 2.5%, to 17,617.60 as investors fear higher commodity prices will likely accelerate inflation after crude oil traded over $100 a barrel. The sharp decline in India's benchmark Index marked the largest drop in the region in over a week. While questions remain about the outlook for global growth and inflation many local observers still believe a pre-budget rally is in the cards for the Far East. India's Finance minister P Chidambaram will present the Union Budget on Feb. 29. "We are expecting a populous Budget from the UPA this year, so the question is whether it will be market friendly. If it is, we could see a change in sentiment in the immediate term at least," said Suresh Kumar Iyer, technical analyst at Asit C Mehta Investment Intermediates. Some leaders among the Indian ADRs Wednesday were HDFC Bank (HDB), up 1.3%; Wipro (WIT), up 1%; and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (RDY), up 1%. The decliners were made up of Sify Technologies (SIFY), down 3%, and Rediff.com (REDF), down 2.3%. Among Indian technology stocks, Satyam (SAY) announced plans to build its strategic relationship with Microsoft (MSFT). The plan includes setting up a center in Hyderabad, which will deliver futuristic solutions using the best Microsoft technologies, according to The Economic Times. Shares of SAY rose 9 cents, or 0.3%, Wednesday. Infosys Technologies (INFY) launched an upgraded version of their universal banking solution software Finacle. The Economic Times reported that Finacle 10 will include Islamic banking, wealth management and mobile banking solutions. Shares of INFY were up 20 cents, or 0.5%. According to a BusinessWeek.com article, Tata Motors (TTM) is the front-runner for the purchase of Ford Motor's (F) Jaguar-Rover brands for a possible price of $1 billion. The Indian automaker also said it's on track to introduce the $2,500 Nano car by October. Shares of TTM traded off by 2.3%. Be sure to check out the Far East Portfolio at Stockpickr.com every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.
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