Asia shares mostly down, euro claws back some losses

A file photo shows a stockmarket trader watching the trading board at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City in Manila

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A file photo shows a stockmarket trader watching the trading board at the Philippine Stock Exchange in …

Asia's markets mostly fell Thursday, with investors unable to build on the previous day's advances after the S&P on Wall Street notched up another record.

With few catalysts to drive trade the dollar retreated from seven-month highs against the yen, while the euro clawed back some losses after Germany dampened speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) would unveil new easing policies.

Australian flag-carrier Qantas was the standout performer, surging almost seven percent on hopes for the next 12 months after it announced record annual losses of US$2.65 billion.

Tokyo fell 0.48 percent, or 74.96 points, to 15,459.86, Sydney lost 0.47 percent, or 26.78 points, to close lower at 5,624.4 and Seoul ended flat, edging up 0.83 points to 2,075.76.

Shanghai gave up 0.62 percent, or 13.65 points, to end at 2,195.82 while Hong Kong lost 0.71 percent, or 177.75 points, to 24,741.00.

Global markets are on a general uptrend as the US economy shows regular signs of getting back on track, in turn sending Wall Street to record highs.

With focus turning to the release of revised US economic growth data for April-June, trade was muted in new York Wednesday, but still positive.

The S&P, which ended above 2,000 for the first time Tuesday, ticked up 0.10 points to another record, while the Dow edged 0.09 percent higher. The Nasdaq eased a fraction but still sits at a 14-year high.

On currency markets the dollar fetched 103.76 yen in afternoon Asian trade, compared with 103.86 yen in New York and well down from the 104.20 yen levels seen earlier in the week.

The euro bought $1.3198 and 136.97 yen, against $1.3195 and 137.05 yen in New York.

- Qantas rallies despite record loss -

The single currency picked up Wednesday from seven-month lows against the dollar after Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble downplayed the prospect of the ECB announcing fresh measures to protect the eurozone economy.

The euro had taken a hit at the start of the week, approaching a one-year low against the dollar, after ECB head Mario Draghi hinted the bank could unveil new steps to fend off deflation.

Draghi said last week the bank "will use all available instruments needed to ensure price stability over the medium term".

But Schaeuble said markets "over-interpreted" the remarks.

Shares in Qantas jumped 6.95 percent despite the airline announcing a huge loss in the year to June blamed on a writedown of its ageing international fleet.

However, the firm's chief executive Alan Joyce he expected "a rapid improvement in the group's financial performance -– and a return to underlying profit before tax in the first half" of the next fiscal year.

On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 36 cents to $93.52 while Brent crude slipped 19 cents to $102.53 in afternoon trade.

Gold traded at $1,292.23 an ounce at 1128 GMT, from $1,284.54 late Wednesday.

In other markets:

-- Mumbai closed up 77.96 points or 0.29 percent at 26,638.11 points.

Tata Communications was up 4.47 percent, or 16.10 rupees, at 376.30 rupees, while Indian Bank was down 5.01 percent, or 7.20 rupees, at 136.65 rupees.

-- Bangkok lost 0.35 percent or 5.53 points to 1,559.05.

Oil giant PTT fell 2.73 percent to 321.00 baht, while coal producer Banpu dropped 1.54 percent to 32.00 baht

-- Kuala Lumpur's main index gained 3.30 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,875.68.

Telekom Malaysia added 0.5 percent to 6.30 ringgit, while Malayan Banking rose 0.4 percent to 10.10. Public Bank fell 0.3 percent to 19.28 ringgit.

-- Singapore closed down 0.34 percent, or 11.24 points, at 3,330.22.

Real estate developer Capitaland fell 0.89 percent to Sg$3.33, while casino operator Genting Singapore eased 1.21 percent to Sg$1.23.

-- Jakarta ended up 0.37 percent, or 19.23 points, to 5184.48.

State miner Aneka Tambang gained 1.26 percent at 1,205 rupiah, while telecommmunications company Telekomunikasi Indonesia lost 0.55 percent at 2,720 rupiah.

-- Taipei was slightly lower, edging down 7.22 points to 9,478.37.

IT giant Acer rose 0.82 percent to Tw$24.6 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 0.4 percent to Tw$125.0.

-- Wellington slipped 0.12 percent, or 6.19 points, to 5,237.51.

Trade Me was off 1.07 at NZ$3.70 and Air New Zealand added 1.84 percent to NZ$2.215 after Australian rival Qantas posted a record annual loss.

-- Manila closed 0.83 percent lower, shedding 59.76 points to 7,100.70.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 0.70 percent to 3,388.00 pesos and BDO Unibank eased 0.61 percent to 90.00 pesos, while Metropolitan Bank lost 0.23 percent to 86.00 pesos.

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