Mixed day for Asian markets amid China data, STI ends 10 points up

SINGAPORE - Asian markets were mixed on Friday as traders weighed a slew of data from China while taking a more cautious stance ahead of the Doha oil-freeze talks this weekend.

The local Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 10.01 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,923.94 - finishing a hefty 115.62 points or 4.1 per cent higher for the week.

Shanghai and Hong Kong both pared 0.1 per cent even as figures showed the Chinese economy grew in line with market forecasts by 6.7 per cent during the first quarter.

Analysts warned that the nascent signs of recovery in China's economy could put a cap on further monetary easing.

"The Chinese government will feel that the existing policies are working," Mr Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group, told Bloomberg. "So there is less potential for more easing in the short term."

Mr Ben Kwong, a director at brokerage KGI Asia in Hong Kong, added: "Investors are still sceptical of the sustainability of such an improvement.There's some profit-taking pressure because of cumulative gains in a row."

Elsewhere in the region, Tokyo lost 0.4 per cent following news of an earthquake that hit southern Japan on Thursday, killing at least nine people.

Seoul dipped 0.1 per cent, while Sydney added 0.8 per cent and Kuala Lumpur inched up 0.2 per cent.

In the United States, Wall Street was little changed, edging up just 0.1 per cent overnight as corporates kept rolling out earnings reports.

At home, Singapore Technologies Engineering was among the better performers, rising seven cents or 2.1 per cent to S$3.35.

Meanwhile, property group Hongkong Land Holdings slid nine cents or 1.4 per cent to S$6.30, while Global Logistic Properties eased one cent or 0.5 per cent to S$1.965.

Turnover across the bourse was a lacklustre 942.1 million units worth S$840.3 million.

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg