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Asia Markets: Trade, oil-price worries blow Asian markets lower

August 10
09:52 2018

Asian stock markets dropped in early trading Friday, as trade and broader geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on over investor sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.46%   was off 0.5% and barely hanging on to a weekly gain. Tokyo Electron 8035, -3.34%   was down 3.5% and Nintendo 7974, -1.82%   was off more than 1%. Inpex 1605, -3.69%   dropped 3.6% as Brent crude futures LCOV8, +0.01% fell to their lowest level in almost a month. That came as the dollar USDJPY, -0.17%   remained just above ¥111 following Japan’s better-than-expected second-quarter GDP report — which had little impact on local markets. Yields for 10-year Japanese government bonds were off a half-basis-point at 0.105%.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.70%   opened solidly lower, hit by weakness in Samsung 005930, -3.52%  , which was off more than 3.5% after its new Galaxy Note 9 device was unveiled but won few fans.

After four days of gains, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.42%   was off 0.2%. Property stocks rebounded, with CR Land 1109, +2.32%   and Country Garden 2007, +1.87%   bouncing more than 2%. But tech was weak, and Tencent 0700, -0.97%   fell 0.8%.

As in Hong Kong, Chinese stocks got a lift from the beaten-down real-estate segment. The broader market extended Thursday’s bounce, with the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.20%   up 0.2% and the Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.21%   up 0.6%. Energy names continued to retreat on weak oil prices.

Australia’s benchmark index XJO, -0.06%   was down fractionally, as energy stocks continued to sag. Oil Search OSH, -2.41%   was down 2% and Woodside Petroleum WPL, -0.85%   was off 1%. Meanwhile, there was nothing in the Friday’s policy/forecast report from the Reserve Bank of Australia to suggest it’s getting closer to raising interest rates. Stocks in New Zealand NZ50GR, +0.37%   were up slightly after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand took a dovish stand on rates the day before, pushing back its rate-hike forecasts by a full year to 2020.

Malaysian stocks FBMKLCI, +0.20%   were about flat after having already risen 21 of the past 24 days. Singapore’s Strait Times Index STI, -1.26%  , which was closed Thursday for a holiday, dove more than 1%, and Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, -0.20%   was in the red as well.

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