Asian markets rebounded on 15-Dec-08, led by Japanese stocks, as investors brushed aside a survey showing business confidence plunged, on hopes for a US interest-rate cut and after the Bush administration stated it would step in to prevent a failure of US car industry.
The Nikkei surged 428.79 points (+5.21%) to 8664.66, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 288.56 (+1.96%) to 15046.95. The Australian share market also closed stronger, driven higher by resource stocks following commodity price rises over the weekend. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 81 points (+2.31%) to 3591.4.
US shares later fell, as the market sought clarity over US President Bush's bid to rescue US carmakers and awaited outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting expected to cut interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 65.15 points (-0.75%) to 8,564.53, the Nasdaq was down 32.38 points (-2.10%) to 1508.34 and the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 11.13 points (-1.27%) to 868.60.
European stock markets were gently down. London's FTSE lost -2.79 points (-0.07%) closing at 4277.56, the Paris the CAC 40 fell -27.94 (-0.87%) to 3185.66, while the Frankfurt Dax 30 lost 103.83 (-2.18%) closing at 4663.37.
Oil prices fell again on 15-Dec-08 as the market ignored a likely OPEC supply cut to refocus on demand. Light, sweet crude prices for January delivery decreased USD1.77 (-3.8%) closing at USD44.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Asia Pacific airline share prices
Once again rumours of a China Eastern-Shanghai Airlines merger - and the resulting expected improvement in their operational performance - has hit Air China (-8.7%) and China Southern's (-7.5%) share prices. Whether the expectations are well founded will remain to be seen. Despite the atmosphere, China Eastern (-2.8%) - with a questionable future, after all, still fell, but Shanghai Airlines (+3.4%) is obviously considered to be getting the better part of any bargain that emerges.
Meanwhile, as cross-straits direct services begin in earnest today, EVA Air (-4.3%) and China Airlines (-4.2%) shares each fell, with the prospect of greater competition and the erosion of their highly profitable Hong Kong services.
Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 15-Dec-08
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