Plus   Neg

Asian Shares Mixed Amid Middle East Tensions

asian mixed 14jun19 lt

Asian stocks ended Friday's session on a mixed note as worries about rising tensions in the Middle East and headlines related to the U.S.-China trade dispute kept underlying sentiment cautious.

The U.S. blamed Iran for the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and said it will defend its forces and interests in the Middle East.

China's Shanghai Composite Index gave up early gains to end the session down 28.77 points or 1 percent at 2,881.97, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 176.36 points or 0.7 percent to 27,118.35.

Government data released late in the day showed Chinese industrial output grew at a slower pace, while growth in retail sales improved more than expected in May.

Industrial production advanced 5.0 percent year-on-year in May, while growth was expected to remain stable at 5.4 percent. Retail sales grew at a faster pace of 8.6 percent after rising 7.2 percent in the previous month. Sales were forecast to advance 8.1 percent.

In the January to May period, fixed asset investment increased 5.6 percent from the previous year. Economists had forecast a 6.1 percent increase, as seen in the January to April period. The unemployment rate remained stable at 5 percent in May.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks rose, led by energy stocks as oil prices surged on supply concerns. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 84.89 points or 0.4 percent to 21,116.89, taking the weekly gain to 1.1 percent. The broader Topix closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,546.71.

Oil firm Inpex Corp rose 1.3 percent and Japan Petroleum advanced 1.5 percent. Sony Corp. shares jumped 3.1 percent after Daniel Loeb's activist hedge fund ThirdPoint LLC called on the company to spin off its semiconductor business.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending modestly higher. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 11.60 points or 0.2 percent to 6,554, while the broader All Ordinaries Index edged up 14.50 points or 0.2 percent to 6,633.60.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group jumped 2-5 percent after Chinese iron ore prices hit a fresh high in the previous session on hopes of Beijing introducing further stimulus.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining rallied 3 percent and Evolution Mining soared 4.8 percent as gold prices gained ground on expectations of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.

Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search climbed 1-3 percent after oil prices rose more than 2 percent overnight following attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

On the other hand, the big four banks fell between 0.7 percent and 1 percent as the Aussie dollar extended overnight losses after the release of mixed domestic jobs data.

Wealth manager AMP slumped 5.8 percent after Australia's banking watchdog issued directions and license conditions on its pension fund units.

Afterpay Touch Group tumbled 4.3 percent a day after a financial crime regulator ordered an audit of the credit provider.

Seoul stocks fell for a third straight session as investors remained wary of a protracted trade war between the U.S. and China. The Kospi dropped 7.74 points or 0.4 percent to 2,095.41.

New Zealand shares ended little changed, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index closing up 0.1 percent at 10,235.37.

New Zealand's manufacturing sector was close to stagnation in May, the latest BNZ survey showed. The corresponding index fell 2.5 points to 50.2. This was the lowest score since December 2012.

New Zealand residential property sales declined in May, but prices increased from last year, another report from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand revealed.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains overnight as data showing bigger than expected decreases in U.S. import and export prices added to expectations the Fed will cut rates this year.

The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Business News

Follow RTT