Asian markets outside China trade lower on 20 November
Asian markets outside China trade lower on 20 November (Reuters)

Asian markets outside China traded lower on 20 November as investors digested downbeat global growth projections from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Market sentiment in China continued to remain positive on the back of the recently announced reforms package.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.71% lower or 14.40 points at 2,017.24.

The Japanese Nikkei finished 0.33% lower or 50.48 points at 15,076.08.

Australia's S&P/ASX finished 0.84% lower or 45.20 points at 5,307.70.

India's BSE Sensex was trading 0.25% lower or 51.82 points at 20,839.00.

The Shanghai Composite finished 0.62% higher or 13.49 points at 2,206.61.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.28% higher or 67.33 points at 23,725.14.

The OECD predicted even lower global growth on 19 November.

The Paris-based organisation said the world economy would grow at a 2.7% rate this year, before accelerating to a 3.6% rate in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015, which is more modest than OECD predictions made in May.

The 34-nation club highlighted the need to strike a balance with the US Federal Reserve's winding-down of asset purchases and the impact this could have on vulnerable emerging market economies.

The news weighed down on most Asian markets, where market players brushed aside dovish comments by outgoing US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke.

Speaking at the National Economists Club in Washington DC, Bernanke said the Fed would start trimming its bond buys only when it was sure that improvements in the US labour market would sustain.

The outgoing central bank chief also said that short-term interest rates could remain low "well after" the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%.

Reading from a prepared statement, Bernanke said: "the FOMC remains committed to maintaining highly accommodative policies for as long as they are needed".

"I agree with the sentiment, expressed by my colleague Janet Yellen at her testimony last week, that the surest path to a more normal approach to monetary policy is to do all we can today to promote a more robust recovery,'' he added.

Tim Radford, global analyst at Rivkin Securities said in a note to clients: "The Australian market is in a healthy period of consolidation, and may trade sideways for a little while longer until buying interest returns in the likes of the big four banks, Telstra, and mining companies".

"There have been some rather positive moves in Chinese equities over the past few sessions, and with iron ore trading near multi-month highs, we could see some healthy buying support for Aussie miners emerge. Further upside in Chinese equities following recent economic reforms by the Chinese government might be the catalyst for a change in sentiment, in the short-term anyway. Chinese equities have essentially traded in a strong downtrend since early 2009, and are currently trading near long-term support," according to Radford.

"From a pure technical perspective, the positive response by Chinese and Hong Kong equities following recent reforms looks bullish in nature, and we expect further upside in the near-term. A change in sentiment around the Chinese share market could be the much needed catalyst to turn around slumping share prices of many Australian mining companies, and therefore lend support to the broader market. For this reason, Chinese equities will be on our radar into the end of 2013," he added.

Wall Street Down

On Wall Street, indices ended slightly lower on 19 November, pulled down by industrial and consumer goods.

The Dow finished 8.99 points lower or 0.1% at 15,967.03.

The S&P 500 closed 3.66 points lower or 0.2% at 1,787.87.

The Nasdaq ended 17.51 points lower or 0.4% at 3,931.55.

Company Stock Movements

In Tokyo, loss making consumer electronics firm Sharp shot up 7.5% on news that it could bag a deal to make copy machines for Hewlett-Packard.

In Mumbai, ICICI Bank, the nation's second-largest lender by assets, lost 2%

In Sydney, WorleyParsons, the nation's biggest oil and gas engineer, plummeted 25% after the firm warned that its full-year underlying net profit could drop by about 19% below its previous guidance.