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Asian Shares Mixed As Oil Spike Fuels Growth Worries

asian mixed 17sep19 lt

Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as investors assessed the impact of surging oil prices on global growth. Investors also preferred to remain on the sidelines ahead of key central bank meetings this week in the U.S. and Japan.

Chinese shares fell sharply ahead of the next round of U.S.-China trade talks scheduled to start in Washington on Thursday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gave up 52.64 points, or 1.7 percent, to finish at 2,978.12, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 334.31 points, or 1.2 percent, to 26,790.24.

Japanese shares finished marginally higher, led by energy-related stocks as oil prices soared after the recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

The Nikkei 225 Index inched up 13.03 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,001.32, extending gains for the tenth straight session as traders returned to their desks after a national holiday on Monday. The broader Topix closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,614.58.

Inpex, Japan's top oil and gas company, soared 9.7 percent, JXTG Holdings jumped 4.6 percent and energy plant builder JGC advanced 5.6 percent. Exporters finished broadly higher as the dollar/yen touched its highest since August 1st.

Automakers ended mixed despite reports the United States will make a commitment not to hike tariffs on Japanese cars or introduce quotas on the number of cars imported to the country.

Australian shares ended modestly higher even as underlying sentiment remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose 21.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,695.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 19.70 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,801.70.

Lower iron ore prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP and Rio Tinto ending down 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

The big four banks rose between 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent, while energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum and Santos climbed 1-2 percent.

New Hope Corp. fell 2.4 percent after the company said coal markets would likely remain volatile in the near term.

In economic news, minutes of the RBA's September 3rd policy meeting showed that the board would consider further policy easing if needed to support growth.

House prices in Australia were down 0.7 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2019, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That exceeded expectations for a decline of 1.1 percent following the 3.0 percent drop in the three months prior.

Seoul stocks ended roughly flat as worries over spiking oil prices offset easing concerns over the U.S.-China trade dispute.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending up 36.28 points, or 0.3 percent, at 10,868.03. Agribusiness firm Scales Corp jumped 3.7 percent and freight services provider Mainfreight advanced 2.9 percent.

Singapore's Straits Times Index slid 0.7 percent. A government report showed that the country's non-oil domestic exports declined at a slower than expected pace in August.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended lower as investors fretted about the impact that higher energy prices could have on the already fragile global economy.

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

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