World Economy

Asia Shares End Mixed

Asia Shares End MixedAsia Shares End Mixed

Shares were mixed in Asia on Monday, with Chinese benchmarks leading decliners. The air strikes on Syria appeared to be having scant impact on trading, and oil prices fell back. Eyes were on Chinese GDP data due on Tuesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 21,835.53, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2% to 30,201.64 and the Shanghai Composite index sank 1.5% to 3,110.65. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1% higher to 2,457.49 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.2% to 5,841.30. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore and rose in Indonesia, news outlets reported.

Indonesian shares closed 0.3% higher, after data showed Southeast Asia’s largest economy in March posted its biggest trade surplus in six months. Indonesia said the country’s first quarter GDP was likely to be 5.2%, which would be an improvement on last year’s growth of 5.01%. An index of the country’s 45 most liquid stocks rose 0.4%.

Hong Kong’s one-month interbank lending rate, or Hibor, jumped back to 1% on Monday from 0.85% on Friday. Banks, though, were among the big decliners Monday, with China Construction Bank  falling 2.3% and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China losing 2.4%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6% as Chinese blue chips skidded 1.6%.

Wall Street: On Friday, bank stocks buckled despite reports of higher profits for some. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,656.30, paring the index’s gain for the week to 2%. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.5% to 24,360.14, and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.5% to 7,106.65. As a group, financial stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.6%, more than double the loss for any of the other 10 sectors that make up the index, AP said.

Nervousness about new Western sanctions on Russia kept the ruble and Moscow stocks on the back foot on Monday. The ruble had recovered most of its early losses against the dollar but was still slightly weaker against the euro, trading at 61.92 and 76.52 respectively.

Moscow’s dollar-denominated RTS share index fell 0.6% to 1,098.26 points and the ruble-based MOEX index dropped 0.2% to 2,171.28 points. Aluminum giant Rusal, which was the main victim of the latest sanctions, saw its shares shed another 6% too, though sovereign bond markets were notably calmer after their recent lurches.

Oil prices fell back from spikes last week on fears over an escalation of strife in the Middle East, with US benchmark crude falling 99 cents, or 1.5%, to $66.41 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 32 cents on Friday to $67.39. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell $1.14, or 1.6%, to $71.45 per barrel.

The dollar was trading at 107.27 yen, down from 107.36 yen late Friday. The euro edged higher to $1.2337 from $1.2333.



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