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Apr 23, 2019

Asia Markets Closing Report I Asia markets mixed as investors grapple with rising oil prices

Eustance Huang

Shares in Asia were mixed on Tuesday as investors grappled with the recent spike in oil prices following an after the  U.S. announced that its sanctions waivers on Iran oil will end by early May.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan recovered from an earlier slip to close 0.19% higher at 22,259.74 as shares of index heavyweight Softbank Group rose 0.31%. The Topix index also finished its trading day up 0.27% at 1,622.97.
South Korea’s Kospi added 0.17% to close at 2,220.51, with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics slipping 0.33% after the company said it would delay the launch of its foldable smartphone.
Mainland Chinese shares saw a second consecutive day of declines, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.51% to approximately 3,198.59 and the Shenzhen component falling about 0.97% to around 10,124.66. The Shenzhen composite also declined 1.316% to roughly 1,728.86.
Shares on the mainland also fell in Monday’s session following a South China Morning Post report that Beijing could refocus on structural reforms instead of offering stimulus measures after it claimed better-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter.
The Hang Seng index declined about 0.2%, in the final hour of trading on Tuesday, with Hong Kong-listed shares of China Construction Bank falling by more than 0.8%.
Australia’s ASX 200, which was closed on Monday for a holiday, gained 0.95% on the day to 6,319.40 as almost all sectors advanced. The energy subindex added 2.54% as shares of oil companies rose amid the recent surge in crude prices. Santos gained 3.05%, Woodside Petroleum advanced 2.55% and Beach Energy jumped 4.21%.
Similar gains were seen elsewhere across the region in the oil sector, with Japan’s Inpex rising 2.78% and Fuji Oil adding 1.15%, while South Korea’s SK Innovation advanced 1.84%.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Oil prices surged to nearly six-month highs on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced that all oil buyers would need to cease imports from Iran by early May.
Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, settled $2.07 higher at $74.04, rising 2.9 percent for its best closing price since Oct. 31, 2018. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled $1.70 higher at $65.70, surging 2.7 percent to a nearly six-month closing high.
“The Trump administration has pulled a shocker by declaring no renewal of Iranian fuel sanction waivers to all of the 8 countries that were exempted,” analysts at OCBC Treasury Research wrote in a morning note.
“The non-renewals come as a surprise because ahead of the US elections next year, many expected the Trump administration to prioritise keeping gasoline prices low against keeping a strong stance on international diplomacy,” they said.
In Asian trade on Tuesday afternoon, oil prices continued their ascent, with Brent adding 0.53% to $74.43 per barrel and U.S. crude futures rising 0.75% to $66.04 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.370 after seeing an earlier low of 97.282.
The Japanese yen traded at 111.86 against the dollar after seeing an earlier low of 111.97. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7113 after touching an earlier high of $0.7139.
On Wall Street this week, more than 140 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to release their quarterly results this week, including Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, United Technologies, Verizon, Twitter, Lockheed Martin and eBay. Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla Motors are also set to report later this week.
So far, the majority of corporate earnings reports have topped expectations. FactSet data shows 76.5 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have posted earnings have surpassed analyst estimates. Analysts came into the season with low expectations, forecasting a 4.2 percent drop in profits.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert, Tom DiChristopher and Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

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