11/07/2008, 00.00
ASIA

Asian markets attempt rebound. Tokyo closes at – 3.6%

Almost all markets rebound after heavy losses. Toyota reduces profit forecast by over two thirds. The Chinese economy feels the crunch.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Contradictory signs emerged today from Asian markets, most of which recovered some percentage points after early lows.  Tokyo alone remained in the negative zone, down 3.6% on closing, shaken by Toyotas profit forecast and the sluggish US economy.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index was up 1.4 % by mid-afternoon. Taiwan stocks reversed the morning's sharp losses to climb 0.19 % after being almost 1 per cent down.

South Korea's main stock index rebounded from a 4.9 % fall to close 3.9 % higher after the country's central bank cut interest rates by a quarter of a point - the third cut in less than a month- in a bid to boost an economy hammered by the global financial crisis.

Investor sentiment took a hit after Japan's top automaker Toyota slashed its annual forecast to a third of what it was a year ago. Japan's leading automaker blamed a contracting US auto market, strong yen and higher materials prices.

Singapore shares slumped 4.48% while Indonesia index was 2.6 % down at the opening.

Shanghai had little movement, up by only 0.09%. Analysts said investors were unsettled by China's deteriorating economy after more index heavyweights posted weak sales or cut production, but the sell-off pressure was limited as new policy announcements were expected soon.

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