August 17th, 2011
10:17 AM GMT
The meeting of minds for Europe’s two largest economies basically produced few tangible results to solving the Continent’s ongoing debt crisis. The main outcomes: a “no” to increasing a European bailout fund, a “no” to Euro bonds and a “yes” to resubmitting a transaction tax proposal that had failed EU passage in 2010.
In Japan, the Nikkei closed down 0.55%. Major exporters Nissan, Toyota and Sony were heavyweights that dragged down the index, all falling between 1.5% and 2.5%. Honda throttled back to be the biggest loser of the Japanese export bunch, down 2.48%.
In Greater China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost earlier gains to close up 0.38%. Financials kept the index from falling into the red. Bank of East Asia and Bank of China were in the top five gainers all day. BEA closed up 4.36%; BOC rose 4.29%. China’s Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, widely expected to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao in 2012 elections, also visited the stock exchange. He vowed he would open up the mainland to more investment from the special administrative region. The Shanghai Composite was flat for much of the day, falling into negative territory only in the last hour of trading to close down 0.26%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 won the title for biggest gainer of the day, closing up 1.33%. Like in Hong Kong, financials led the way higher after good earnings reports from three of the “Big 4” banks. Westpac, Australia’s second largest bank, closed the highest with a gain of 1.28%, although it had been up by about 3% earlier in the day. ANZ Bank followed close behind with a gain of 1.13%.
All in all, Asia-Pacific markets craved a compass today as investors stayed away from major moves. Investor sentiment suggests the Merkel-Sarkozy summit failed to deliver much of any guidance.
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