World Economy

Asia Markets Make Modest Gains

Asia Markets Make Modest GainsAsia Markets Make Modest Gains

Markets in Asia finished mostly higher on Monday, with investors still turning their direction stateside, awaiting further information from President Donald Trump on his economic and tax reform plans.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished almost flat, adding 0.09% to 19,251.08, with the yen weakening against the greenback. It was last 0.25% weaker at 113.12 per $1, DigitalLook reported.

That weaker currency made it a green day for the some of the country’s major exporters, with Toyota up 0.5%. Others didn’t fare so well, however, with Canon down 0.3%, Honda off 0.33% and Sony dipping 1.1%.

SoftBank shares were 3.18% firmer after it emerged the company was keen to give up control of US mobile carrier Sprint to competitor T-Mobile US in order to see the two networks merge.

Fresh official data showed exports rose 1.3% in Japan year-on-year in January, which was well off the Reuters-polled forecast for a 4.7% rise. Exports to the US fell 6.6% in the month, and imports were up 11.9%.

Overall, Japan’s trade balance stood at a deficit of ¥1.09 trillion, much larger than the estimate for a JPY 636.8 billion deficit.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.23% at 3,241.45, while the Shenzhen Composite was 0.89% higher at 1,962.52.

In South Korea, the Kospi was up 0.18% at 2,084.39, with Samsung Electronics adding 2.11%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished 0.47% higher at 24,146.08.

It was a day of modest movements in Asian markets, which reflected performance in the US on Friday as investors awaited more details from the Trump administration.

“President Trump promised a ‘phenomenal’ tax announcement in 2-3 weeks, so as the clock ticks down to some form of announcement, market inertia is set to reign,” noted National Australia Bank global co-head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill.

Oil prices were slightly higher during Asian trading, with Brent crude last up 0.69% at $56.20 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate advancing 0.54% to $54.07.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.18% to 5,795.09, with most sub-indexes in the red.

Shares in WorleyParsons plummeted 12.78% after the firm swung to a first-half net loss of A$2.4 million ($1.84 million), compared to the A$23.1 million profit it recorded at the same time last year.

New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 added 0.08% to finish at 7,099.49, led higher by airport operator AIAL, which rose 2.3%.

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