Plus   Neg

Asian Shares Mixed Amid Syria Fallout


Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as worries about slowing growth in China and higher interest rates offset easing concerns about the geopolitical risks over Syria.

Investors veered around to the view that weekend missile strikes against Syria by the United States, France and Britain may be a one-off event. U.S President Donald Trump tweeted "Mission Accomplished" on Saturday, implying that there will not be another strike soon.

Chinese shares hit a fresh six-month low on concerns that mounting risks in the financial system will weigh on growth further down the road.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index tumbled 48.30 points or 1.53 percent to 3,110.75, posting its worst loss in three weeks, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 492.79 points or 1.60 percent to 30,315.59.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares finished modestly higher after Russia didn't responded to the U.S.-led missile strike on Syria. Investors also shrugged off polls showing waning support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 56.79 points or 0.26 percent to 21,835.53 while the broader Topix index closed 0.40 percent higher at 1,736.22. Drugmakers, retailers and food companies were among the prominent gainers. Sony gained 0.8 percent and Canon added half a percent despite a firmer yen.

Australian shares rose as investors took Syria tensions in their stride. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 12.20 points or 0.21 percent to finish at 5,841.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 8.30 points or 0.14 percent at 5,933.

Mining heavyweights ended on a mixed note as investors awaited quarterly production reports. BHP Billiton advanced 0.8 percent while Rio Tinto shed 0.3 percent and Fortescue Metals Group declined 0.9 percent. South32 climbed 3.2 percent after a surge in aluminum prices on concerns about supply disruption.

The big four banks also closed mixed, while energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy gained 1-2 percent after crude oil prices posted their largest weekly gain in almost a year.

Seoul stocks rose slightly as investors remained optimistic about the upcoming corporate earnings season. The benchmark Kospi rose marginally to finish at
2,457.49. Market heavyweights Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor rose 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 8.42 points or 0.10 percent to 8,406.35, dragged down by healthcare stocks. Dairy firm a2 Milk Company rallied 2.2 percent after unveiling plans to expand into South Korea.

In economic releases, activity in New Zealand's services sector continued to expand in March, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed with a Performance of Services Index score of 58.8, up from the upwardly revised 55.3 in February.

Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was moving up 0.2 percent. The country's jobless rate edged down to 3.3 percent in February from 3.4 percent in January, figures from the Department of Statistics showed. In the corresponding month last year, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

India's Sensex was marginally higher in lackluster trade. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was rising 0.3 percent and the Taiwan Weighted was little changed while Singapore's Straits Times index was declining 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday as fears of a trade far, concerns about higher interest rates and downbeat consumer sentiment data overshadowed encouraging earnings reports from financial giants JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index slid around half a percent, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.3 percent.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Market Analysis

Follow RTT