HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on the last day of the year Tuesday following another record close on Wall Street, while Shanghai was set to be the region’s worst performer over the past 12 months.
While the Dow ended at another all-time high, a disappointing set of home sales sent the dollar lower after touching five-year highs against the yen.
In holiday-reduced trade Hong Kong added 0.26 percent, or 61.52 points, to close at 23,306.39 — putting on 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 4737.01 — but finished the year 16.49 percent stronger.
In the afternoon Singapore rose 0.43 percent and Shanghai was up 0.87 percent.
Tokyo, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.
While Japan’s Nikkei closed Monday with a 57 percent advance over the year — its strongest run in four decades making it the world’s best performer — Shanghai ended a torrid 2013 that saw it suffer two liquidity crises.
In June and again in December, a cash crunch in China’s financial markets fuelled worries about the economy, which was already suffering a painful slowdown that had knock-on effects for other nations that depend on Beijing for their own growth.
The mainland stock market also took a hammering from persistent uncertainty over a resumption of new share offers flooding the market that analysts warn could strain liquidity. The benchmark stock index had dropped 7.56 percent in 2013 by the end of trade Monday.
Regional investors took heart from the Dow’s record close on Monday. The index jumped 0.16 percent in New York, its fourth all-time high in the past five sessions and the 51st of the year.
However, the S&P 500, which has also hit multiple record highs this year, edged down 0.02 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq eased 0.06 percent.
In forex trade the dollar slipped after data showed US pending home sales rose 0.2 percent in November, the first rise in five months, but below the 1.5 percent increase projected by analysts.
The dollar bought 104.90 yen from 105.11 yen in New York, after touching 105.41 yen earlier Monday — its strongest since October 2008.
The euro fetched 1.3791 against $1.3800 in US trade and 144.70 yen compared with 145.05 yen.
Oil prices were flat. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, added two cents to $99.31 in mid-morning trade while Brent North Sea crude for February rose five cents to $111.26.
Gold fetched $1,198.00 at 0415 GMT compared with $1,197.80 late Monday.