Asian Stocks Waver After China Data, Earnings, in Focus

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open higher following overnight Wall Street gains, with Britain's FTSE rising 0.15 percent, Germany's DAX gaining 0.3 percent and France's CAC climbing 0.3 percent.

The dollar was barely changed, with demand for safe-haven U.S. treasuries ebbing as investor risk appetite improved in parts of the broader markets as investors took the view that Western-led strikes on Syria were a one-off intervention.

Hong Kong fell more than one percent, while Shanghai slipped 0.8 percent, with traders there awaiting the release Tuesday of first-quarter Chinese growth data.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 56.79 points or 0.3 percent to 21,835.53, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,736.22. Australian stocks gained 0.5%, South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.15%.

Advertisment Asian stocks closed mixed on Monday, with markets in greater China lagging the rest of the region, as investors digested geopolitical tensions on the back of US -led airstrikes on Syria last week.

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 nearly a year.

Asian share markets were mixed and oil prices fell on Monday as relief US-led strikes on Syria looked unlikely to escalate was tempered by concerns at Russia's potential reaction to new sanctions from Washington.

"Investors were relieved that the military action didn't expand further", said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., as the strikes were limited to Syrian chemical weapons facilities and did not escalate into a direct confrontation with Russian Federation. Conflict continues in Syria and trade issues remain unresolved.

The Dow gained 0.87% and the S&P 500 rose 0.8% on Monday, with the biggest boosts from technology and healthcare sectors as investors were optimistic about the earnings season and appeared less anxious about US-led missile attacks in Syria.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report an 18.6 percent jump in first-quarter profit, on average, the biggest rise in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The yen was at 107.14 per dollar after gaining 0.2 percent Monday.

The euro was flat at $1.2380.

Expectations of further interest rate increases lifted the short end of the curve earlier in the day, led by the two-year government bond US2YT=RR, which hit 2.394, its highest since September 2008.

Aluminium hovered near seven-year highs reached the previous day after US sanctions on Russian producer Rusal stirred supply concerns.

Oil prices slipped with Brent crude futures off 31 cents at $72.27 a barrel, while USA crude fell 26 cents to $67.13 a barrel.

LME aluminum gained 5 percent to $2,399.00 per metric ton, the highest in more than six years.