4 Feb 2009

Markets end trading day mixed

10:00 pm on 4 February 2009

Asian shares rose for a second consecutive session on Wednesday, but markets in New Zeland and Australia were down.

Japan's Nikkei stock index closed up 2.73% on Wednesday as investors took comfort from an overnight rally on Wall Street.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 213.43 points to end at 8,038.94.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares advanced 18.99 points, or 2.45%, to 792.78.

But the Australian share market closed firmly in the red, weighed down by the property and mining sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 70.8 points, or 2.02%, at 3,437.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 66.8 points, or 1.94%, to 3,382.3.

Shares in BHP Billiton inched 1 cent lower to $A29.77 after the mining giant posted a 57% drop in interim net profit to $A4.02 billion.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US898.10 per fine ounce, down $US3.60 on Tuesday's closing price of $US901.70.

In New Zealand, the benchmark index also finished lower, down 12 points, or 0.42%, to 2768 on turnover of $75 million.

Top stocks all slid. Telecom was down 3c to $2.64, Contact Energy fell 4c to $6.84 and Fletcher Building lost 1c to $5.53.

NZ commodities prices down

The prices New Zealand receives from world markets for commoditiy exports fell for the sixth consecutive month in January.

According to the monthly ANZ Commodity Price Index, prices fell 4.3% in January, dragged down by double-digit falls in wood pulp and dairy products.

World prices for nine of the 13 products the index tracks fell during the month, taking the total fall since July's peak to 28%.