Asian Markets Exhibit Mixed Trend

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mixed on Monday following the weak cues from Wall Street and the plunge in crude oil prices on Friday. Investors now look ahead to remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting later this week for clues on monetary policy.

Investors will also keep a close watch on the developments on the U.S.-China trade front. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of the week.

The Australian market is declining following the negative cues from Wall Street as well as on weak commodity prices. Mining and energy stocks are among the major losers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 33.10 points or 0.58 percent to 5,683.10, off a lower of 5,670.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is losing 34.30 points or 0.59 percent to 5,759.10. Australian shares closed modestly higher on Friday.

The major miners are lower on weak iron ore and copper prices. BHP and Rio Tinto are losing almost 3 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is down more than 1 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after the plunge in crude oil prices Friday. Woodside Petroleum is declining almost 2 percent, Oil Search is losing almost 3 percent and Santos is lower by more than 3 percent.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are higher by 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent, while Westpac is down 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are advancing despite gold prices drifting lower on Friday. Evolution Mining is rising 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is edging up 0.1 percent.

Dexus Property Group's shares are rising almost 2 percent after the real estate developer said it will set up a A$2 billion trust with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC to invest in Australian logistics properties.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7232, down from $0.7249 on Friday.

The Japanese market, which remained closed on Friday for a holiday, is advancing despite the weak cues from Wall Street and the fall in crude oil prices. Exporters and tech stocks are among the major gainers.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is rising 135.58 points or 0.63 percent to 21,782.13, off a high of 21,808.26 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is advancing more than 1 percent, Panasonic is adding 0.6 percent and Canon is up 0.4 percent, while Sony is declining 0.2 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is rising 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding almost 1 percent.

Among the other major automakers, Toyota is down 0.3 percent and Honda is lower by 0.5 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is losing more than 3 percent and Japan Petroleum is declining almost 3 percent after crude oil prices fell almost 8 percent on Friday. JXTG Holdings is declining almost 3 percent.

The Nikkei reported that air conditioning company Daikin Industries has agreed to acquire Austria-based refrigerator manufacturer AHT Cooling Systems for a little more than 100 billion yen, or $885 million. Shares of Daikin are rising more than 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Alps Electric is gaining almost 7 percent and Amada Holdings is rising almost 5 percent. Sumco Corp. and Kawasaki Kishen Kaisha are higher by more than 4 percent each.

On the flip side, IHI Corp., Ebara Corp. and Olympus Corp. are all lower by more than 2 percent each.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Nikkei showed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in November, albeit at a slower pace with a preliminary manufacturing PMI score of 51.8. That's down from the six-month high score of 52.9 in October, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 113 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are also higher, while New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Shanghai are all lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Friday, partly reflecting recent downward momentum amid lingering concerns about the global economic outlook. A continued decline by shares of Apple also weighed on the markets after a report from the Wall Street Journal said the company is moving to offer subsidies to mobile-network operators in Japan, effectively cutting the price of its recently released iPhone XR.

The Dow slumped 178.74 points or 0.7 percent to 24,285.95, the Nasdaq fell 33.28 points or 0.5 percent to 6,938.98 and the S&P 500 tumbled 17.37 points or 0.7 percent to 2,632.56.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices tumbled on Friday to hit their lowest level of 2018 despite Saudi Arabia vowing to cut production. WTI crude for January plunged $4.21 or 7.7 percent to close at $50.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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