Most of the Asian markets advanced but pared the weekly gains as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank did not announce any stimulus measures to revive the weakening economic growth.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 2 percent and closed at 19666.18. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 percent and closed at 2132.80.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.1 percent and closed at 8555.11. South Korea's Kospi Index was up 1.1 percent and closed at 1848.68. India's BSE Sensex gained 2.2 percent and closed at 17197.93.
The week opened with investors waiting for the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) statement on the monetary policy. Hope for additional stimulus measures at the FOMC meeting intensified among the market players.
Investors were hopeful after ECB President Mario Draghi last week pledged to do whatever it took to save the euro zone from a collapse. His accompanying assessment that the size of the sovereign premium hampered the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channel was taken by market players as a strong hint that the ECB was considering bringing back to life its securities markets program.
The first three days of the week saw major Asian indices rising as investor confidence was lifted amid hopes of monetary easing measures from the U.S. Fed and the ECB to rejuvenate the economy. But market confidence was dragged down when the Fed declined to take any additional stimulus action at the FOMC meeting Wednesday.
The disappointment of the investors increased when the ECB did not announce stimulus measures Thursday to boost the faltering euro zone economy. Draghi's comments at a press conference in Frankfurt were a blow to the hopes that the ECB would quickly make huge bond purchases to address the euro zone's escalating debt crisis.
Meanwhile, Japan's industrial output declined in June, which is the third consecutive month showing a fall, indicating that the weakening global demand and the debt burden faced by the euro zone are affecting the country's economy. The data released Monday by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that the country's industrial production dropped 0.1 percent in June from May. There was a 3.4 percent fall in May.
South Korea's industrial output declined in June from the previous month with exports decreasing and domestic demand continuing to be weak. According to the report by Statistics Korea released Tuesday, the country's industrial production declined to 0.4 percent in June down from a rise of 1.3 percent in May.
Data released by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing Wednesday showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.1 in July down from 50.2 in June. However, according to the HSBC Flash PMI, also released Wednesday, China's manufacturing activity rose in July compared to that in June. The reading of the PMI, a measure of the nationwide manufacturing activity, climbed to 49.3 in July compared to 48.2 in June.
Major gainers: Shares of Canon Inc rose 7 percent. Shares of Korea Gas Corp climbed 11 percent and those of China Yurun advanced 29 percent.
Week Ahead: Market sentiment may remain bearish in the absence of stimulus measures from the central banks around the world.
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