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Asian Markets at Close Report

European Markets at Close Report

Mar 17, 2017

Asian, European & U.S. Stock Markets Closing Reports on March 17, 2017:

Aza Wee Sile
Asian markets traded sideways on Friday, following a flat to lower close on Wall Street, in a light regional data day.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.35 percent on Friday morning.
Australia's ASX 200 closed up 0.24 percent or 13.8 points at 5,799.6.
In South Korea, the Kospi added 0.67 percent or 14.5 points at 2,164.58 as the won weakened against the dollar.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Seoul today, as part of his visit to Asia. Tillerson said on Thursday in Japan that part of his visit was to find a "new approach" to deal with threats from North Korea.
China's Shanghai composite fell 0.97 percent or 31.6 points to close at 3,237.31 and the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.81 percent or 16.6 points at 2,029.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat by 3:05 pm HK/SIN.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag carrier, was up 1.26 percent after the company confirmed a Reuters report that it would target deep management cost cuts at its headquarters by 30 percent. The airline reported its first full-year net loss last year since 2008.
China pledged a firm response if Japan were to interfere in the South China Sea, after Reuters reported on a Japanese plan to send its largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, to the disputed waters.
The carrier is expected to make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, Reuters reported. This would be Japan's biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.
Over in Southeast Asia,Singapore's posted its strongest non-oil domestic exports (NODX) in February, up 21.5 percent on-year. The February export figures beat a Reuters poll of an expected 12.8 percent gain from the previous year.
Major U.S. indexes closed mostly lower, weighed by losses in the healthcare sector after U.S. President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint that proposed cutting spending for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.07 percent at 20,934.55, the S&P 500 closed lower by 0.16 percent to 2,381.38 and the Nasdaq composite closed nearly flat at 5,900.76.


-68.55 -0.35%
HSI HSI 24309.93
21.65 0.09%
ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 5799.65
13.85 0.24%
SHANGHAI Shanghai 3237.31
-31.62 -0.97%
KOSPI KOSPI Index 2164.58
14.50 0.67%
CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 7405.49
10.71 0.14%
Chinese group, the Global CEO Fortune Club, launched its first overseas fund on Thursday with an aim to invest in Australian infrastructure projects. The group expects to find opportunities for public-private partnership from its base in Melbourne.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve had raised interest rates and the People's Bank of China followed and lifted its short-term interest rates on Thursday. One of Australia's "Big Four" banks, National Australia Bank, said it would raise rates on variable home loans for owner occupiers and investment properties.
"The story in global markets over the past 24 hours has centered on a broad-based tightening of monetary policy conditions (and the perception of future tightening), while the cost to borrow from certain financial institutions has also increased," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at spread-better IG, in a Friday note.
In China, Saudi Arabia's King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 million on the first day of a visit to Beijing. Some of the deals included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Saudi Aramco and China North Industrial Group to look into building more plants in China.
The dollar remained under pressure against a basket of currencies, at 100.17 compared to levels above 101 seen earlier this week. The yen traded at 113.31 against the greenback early Asian morning and the Australian dollar fetched $0.7685.
During Asian hours on Friday, Brent crude slipped 0.14 percent to $51.67 a barrel, and U.S. light crude was flat at $48.75.
In the energy markets, oil prices slipped on Thursday during U.S. hours despite support from the weaker dollar as U.S. crude stockpiles near record high levels.
Investors also noted comments by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih that a coordinated pact by the Organization of the Petroleum exporting Countries (OPEC) and key producers outside the cartel to trim supplies to the market is on track .

Silvia Amaro, Sam Meredith
European markets closed slightly higher on Friday after hitting record highs during the previous session.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.16 percent higher with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory. Telecoms led the gains as both BT and Telecom Italia moved higher.
Utilities ended slightly higher too. Enel, the Italian utility firm, said Friday that large-size mergers could have a destructive economic impact. Its full-year results were in line with expectations.
The U.K.'s house builder Berkeley Group was at the top of the benchmark. It jumped 6.1 percent after indicating that its profits will hit the top end of analysts expectations, despite a slowing housing market in the capital.

By contrast, the multinational oil firm Tullow Oil was at the bottom of the European benchmark, down by 14.7 percent. This was after news that it is launching £607 million ($749 million) rights issue at a 45 percent discount to its current share price as it tries to reduce its debt burden.
The Nordic lender Nordea fell over 6.3 percent on Friday. This comes after a dispute with the Swedish government. Nordea's chairman said Thursday that he will likely propose moving the Swedish headquarters if the government raises fees for the country's banking rescue fund.
Elsewhere, former chief executive of Barclays Bob Diamond and the Qatari royal family said Friday they are buying the British stockbroker Panmure Gordon. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average and broader S&P 500 continued to hover around the flatline as gains made in the technology sector were offset by losses in healthcare.

G-20 meeting

Investors are set to be mainly focused on politics with finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20 gathering in Germany. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington DC. This will be their first meeting after accusations from the U.S. administration that Germany manipulates the euro to take advantage when trading with its foreign partners.
Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, told the press following a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Germany's surplus was due to the fact that it doesn't have its own currency and is not in charge of its monetary policy.
In terms of data, the euro zone registered a trade deficit in January - the first time in three years, data showed Friday.
Evelyn Cheng
U.S. stocks closed mixed Friday, dragged down by declines in financial and health care stocks.
"It's expiration so there's a lot of noise related to that," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.
Trade volume across the U.S. exchanges topped 9.4 billion, the most since Dec. 16.
The third Friday of every March, June, September, and December is quadruple "witching," the expiration of three related classes of options and futures contracts, along with individual stock futures options. Friday is also St. Patrick's Day.
The major averages closed higher for the week, with the Dow Jones industrial average holding a 0.06 percent weekly gain. The bulk of the week's gains came Wednesday after the Fed raised rates, as expected, but took a more dovish tone than expected.
"The interesting thing is a month ago nobody expected them to raise in March," Boockvar said. "The market's still in that 'everything is good mode.'"
The Nasdaq composite posted its seventh positive day in eight — closing just 0.24 points higher Friday as shares of Adobe, Microsoft, and Starbucks climbed. The Nasdaq failed to set a record close despite briefly hitting a fresh all-time intraday high of 5,912.61, topping the old record set on March 1.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) dropped 1.1 percent for a weekly loss of nearly 1.8 percent. Shares of Amgen fell 6.5 percent after disappointing results from its latest cholesterol-lowering drug.
Financial stocks fell 1.06 percent as the worst performer in the S&P 500 to end the week about 0.9 percent lower. Utilities closed more than half a percent higher to lead sector advancers and gained nearly 1.3 percent for the week.
"I think we're getting in and out of a very hectic week in terms of catalysts and into one that's less catalyst-filled," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
U.S. crude oil futures settled up 3 cents, or 0.06 percent, at $48.78 a barrel, for a weekly gain of 0.6 percent. Oil was little changed after Baker Hughes said the weekly U.S. rig count rose by 14 oil rigs to a total of 631.
Traders work below a board displaying the Dow Chemical logo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Traders work below a board displaying the Dow Chemical logo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
For markets, "what's most relevant is the trajectory and the momentum of global economic growth, which ... looks pretty good," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management.
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) closed a touch lower on the day but held gains of nearly 4 percent for the week, its best since July 2016.
On the data front, industrial production came in unchanged for February. Capacity utilization edged 0.1 percent lower to 75.4 percent.
The University of Michigan preliminary read on consumer sentiment for March was 97.6.
Treasury yields traded slightly lower, with the 2-year yield around 1.32 percent and the 10-year yield around 2.50 percent.
The U.S. dollar index traded little changed, with the euro around $1.073 and the yen near 112.7.
Overseas, the STOXX Europe 600 closed 0.16 percent higher. The Shanghai composite ended nearly 1 percent lower, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.35 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 19.93 points, or 0.10 percent, at 20,914.62. Boeing and 3M contributed the most to gains, while Goldman Sachs had the greatest negative impact.
The Dow gained 0.06 percent for the week, its fifth positive week in six. For the week, Home Depot had the greatest positive impact, while Goldman contributed the most to losses.
The S&P 500 closed 3.13 points lower, or 0.13 percent, at 2,378.25. Financials led four sectors lower, while utilities was the top performer.
The index gained 0.24 percent for the week, its seventh positive week in eight. Real estate was the top performer on the week, while financials lagged.
The Nasdaq composite closed up 0.24 points, or 0.00 percent, at 5,901.00. The Nasdaq gained about two-thirds of a percent for its seventh positive week in eight.
The Russell 2000 small-cap index gained 1.9 percent for the week, its best since Dec. 9.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market,was last slightly higher near 11.3.
About three stocks advanced for every two decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 2.3 billion and a composite volume of nearly 5.1 billion in the close.
High-frequency trading accounted for 52 percent of March's daily trading volume of about 6.95 billion shares, according to TABB Group. During the peak levels of high-frequency trading in 2009, about 61 percent of 9.8 billion of average daily shares traded were executed by high-frequency traders.
Gold futures for April delivery settled up $3.10 at $1,230.20 an ounce. Gold gained 2.4 percent for the week, its best since Feb. 3.