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Apr 29, 2019

Asia Markets Closing Reports I Stocks in China mostly tumble; Japan markets closed for 10-day holiday

Eustance Huang

Shares in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Monday, while markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.
Mainland Chinese shares fell by the close, with the Shanghai composite 0.77% lower at 3,062.50 and the Shenzhen component dropping about 2.88% to 9,622.49. The Shenzhen composite also declined 2.412% to 1,625.62.
The CSI 300, which tracks the largest shares on the mainland, on the other hand, rose 0.28% to finish at 3,900.33. Shenzhen-listed shares of electric vehicle maker BYD gained 0.52% after the company reported a 632% surge in first-quarter net profit. Its Hong Kong-listed counterpart, on the other hand, declined more than 0.8%.
One investor told CNBC valuations in Chinese markets were “a little bit expensive” at the moment.
“When you sort of look at both the valuation levels on a P/E basis as well as on a price-to-book basis for MSCI China, they’re already above its 10 and 15 year historical averages. With the CSI 300, they’re very much approaching their historical averages,” Ken Wong, Asia equity portfolio specialist at Eastspring Investments, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.
During such scenarios when historical valuations are “getting a little bit stretched,” investors tend to “take a bit of profit,” he added. “That’s exactly what we saw last week.”
Mainland Chinese markets stumbled to their worst weekly performance since October last week, with the Shanghai composite dropping more than 5.5%.
Research firm Capital Economics attributed the weakness to comments made by China’s top decision-making body about the country’s economic stimulus plans. While Chinese officials said they would continue to support the economy, better-than-expected first-quarter GDP results sparked worries about potential near-term policy easing.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.88% in its final hour of trading.
The MSCI Asia-ex Japan index also rose 0.53% to 540.53, as of 3:20 p.m. HK/SIN.
In South Korea, the Kospi added 1.70%, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumping 2.90% ahead of its earnings release on Tuesday.
The ASX 200 in Australia, on the other hand, slipped 0.41% to close at 6,359.50.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 1.54% in afternoon trade as shares of DBS Group, Southeast Asia’s biggest lender, surged more than 3.4% after it reported a record quarterly profit. The shares of other banks in Singapore also climbed, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp rising more than 2%, and United Overseas Bank up more than 2.8%.
Japan is currently on a 10-day holiday from April 27 to May 6 to celebrate the enthronement of the country’s Crown Prince Naruhito.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22258.73-48.85-0.22
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI29892.81287.800.97
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2006359.50-26.10-0.41
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI2216.4337.121.70
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008212.7142.510.52
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite finished the previous week at record highs, following the release of better-than-expected U.S. economic data. First-quarter gross domestic product was 3.2%, the Commerce Department said on Friday, topping the consensus economist estimate of 2.5%, according to Dow Jones. An increase in exports drove the better-than-expected number.
On the U.S.-China trade front, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview that negotiations between the two economic powerhouses were in “the final laps,” according to a New York Times report.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.965 after touching highs above 98.1 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 111.70 against the dollar after touching lows beyond 112.2 in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7053 after slipping from highs above $0.714 last week.
“In our view, currency markets will be largely be driven by US developments this week. The US highlights are the April ISM manufacturing (Thu), the April non‑farm payrolls (Fri) and the (Federal Open Market Committee) policy meeting (Thu),” strategists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a note.
Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract slipping 0.62% to $71.70 per barrel and U.S. crude futures also shedding 0.62% to $62.91 per barrel.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Lizzy Gurdus contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

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