Asian Shares Mostly Higher As Oil Jumps

Asian Shares Mostly Higher As Oil Jumps

(RTTNews) Asian stocks closed broadly higher on Monday as oil prices jumped and weak U.S. data raised a question mark over the extent of Fed tightening.

Meanwhile, investors took weak Chinese data, geopolitical worries and the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack in their stride.

Japanese shares closed marginally lower, with exporters retreating, as the yen held steady following the widespread cyber attack over the weekend and in the wake of weaker-than-expected data from the United States.

Chinese shares rose for a third straight session as concerns over regulatory tightening ebbed and upbeat talk on trade and infrastructure investment at a top-level conference in China helped investors shrug off disappointing macro data.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 6.72 points or 0.22 percent to 3,090.23 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 224 points or 0.89 percent at 25,380 in late trade.

China's industrial production growth eased at a faster-than-expected pace in April, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Output climbed an annual 6.5 percent, slower than the 7.6 percent rise in March, while retail sales surged 10.7 percent in the month, just below the 10.9 percent spike in the prior month.

The country's fixed asset investment also grew at a slightly slower pace of 8.9 percent in April, but property investment growth accelerated to 9.3 percent in the first four months of 2017 from 9.1 percent in the first quarter.

Australian shares ended a choppy session little changed as banking stocks recovered some lost ground, helping offset losses among mining stocks following weaker Chinese data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 1.50 points or 0.03 percent to 5,838.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 2.50 points or 0.04 percent at 5,868.40.

The big four banks rose between 0.7 percent and 1 percent. Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 0.3 percent after launching a global rebranding. Rival Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group shed about 0.6 percent each.

Energy stocks ended mixed, with Woodside Petroleum finishing marginally lower, while Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy rose between 0.3 percent and 1.4 percent.

Oroton shares were placed in a trading halt after the struggling luxury handbag retailer warned its earnings have slipped in April.

Fairfax Media soared as much as 6.5 percent after U.S. buyout firm TPG Capital Management raised its cash bid for the media firm.

Seoul shares gained ground and the local currency strengthened against the dollar despite a selling spree by foreign investors after cyber worm affected 2 lakh victims in 150 countries and North Korea claimed it had successfully conducted a newly developed mid-to-long range missile test.

The benchmark Kospi closed up 4.63 points or 0.20 percent at 2,290.65 as the country elected a president who vowed to engage with Kim Jong.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 22.44 points or 0.30 percent to 7.429.94, dragged down by healthcare and industrial stocks.

New Zealand retail sales jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent sequentially in the first three months of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said today. That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.9 percent after a 0.6 percent gain in the previous three months.

Elsewhere, benchmark indexes in India, Singapore and Taiwan were up between 0.2 percent and half a percent while Malaysian shares were marginally lower and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was declining 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed on Friday, Treasury yields slipped and the dollar retreated as investors digested weak retail sales and inflation data as well as disappointing earnings updates from the likes of Nordstrom and J.C. Penney. A gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly increased in May, offering some respite.

Ahmed Mamdouh

Ahmed Mamdouh, Co-Founder and Head of English Fundamental Analysis at FXComment.com, with 7 years of experience in the financial markets. Mamdouh holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from The American University in Cairo and a Bachelor Degree in Economics from The Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University.

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