Uncertainty dents Asian markets; Newscorp shares rise in Sydney

<p>Asian markets were again dampened by global uncertainties with the US and Europe still to finalise debt concerns. Asian shares were led lower by Japanese […]</p>

Asian markets were again dampened by global uncertainties with the US and Europe still to finalise debt concerns. Asian shares were led lower by Japanese banks and exporters, while the Euro traded near a one-week low versus the US dollar amid concern European leaders will fail to agree on steps to contain the region’s crisis at a summit this week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4% at 12:38 p.m. in Tokyo and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.8% in Japan, where markets were closed yesterday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index decreased 0.4% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5%. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. dropped 3.1%, while Sony Corp. sank 2.3% in Tokyo.

In economic news, China reported tax revenue up 29.6% to 5 trillion Yuan ($773 billion) in the first half of the year, giving officials more room to maneuver as they grapple with swelling local-government debt. The gain, reported by the Ministry of Finance on its website today, compared with a 32.4% increase in the first quarter from a year earlier. 

Meanwhile, in its monthly minutes release, the Reserve Bank of Australia said it looked to extend an interest-rate pause because risks posed by Europe’s debt crisis and a slower-than-forecast domestic recovery eased inflation concerns.

In corporate news, News Corp. rose from a two-year low in Sydney, climbing 2.9%. The company is reportedly considering elevating Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to chief executive officer to succeed Rupert Murdoch. About $4.4 billion has been wiped off the market value of News Corp. (NWS)’s Class A shares since the Guardian revealed that News of the World scandals. 

In energy markets, oil climbed in New York as signs of shrinking crude stockpiles in the U.S. and rising demand in China countered speculation that Europe’s debt crisis will temper fuel consumption. Futures advanced as much as 0.5% before a report tomorrow that may show U.S. inventories dropped a seventh week. Prices also rose after China said its apparent fuel consumption rose 7.2% in the first half.Immediate-delivery gold lost 0.2% to $1,602.45 an ounce in early morning Singapore trade. Spot gold gained for an 11th day yesterday, rising to an all-time high of $1,607.45

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