Hong Kong, China (BBN) – Asian indexes edged down on Monday despite the firmer lead from Wall Street last week.
Chinese markets traded lower as investors kept an eye on developments in the bond market while South Korea’s Kospi slid on weakness in tech names, reports CNBC.com.
MARKETS ON THE MOVE
Japan’s Nikkei 225 erased early gains to slip 0.33 percent. Trading houses and manufacturing names made losses, but some notable names continued to cling to gains. Toyota was up 0.23 percent as other major automakers traded lower, SoftBank Group gained 0.12 percent and Nintendo rose 1.74 percent.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi fell 1.25 percent, with tech stocks dragging on the broader index. Market movers included blue-chip heavyweight Samsung Electronics, which saw its stock tumble 4.4 percent. SK Hynix, meanwhile, fell 3.53 percent and Naver lost 2.35 percent.
The Korean won was in focus ahead of the Bank of Korea’s Thursday interest rates decision, with a majority of economists polled by Reuters last month indicating that a 25 basis point rate hike was expected. The currency traded at 1,087.21 won to the dollar, near its strongest levels in around two and a half years.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was slightly lower, trading 0.07 percent below the flat line. Resource plays Rio Tinto and BHP gave up early gains to slip 0.43 percent and 0.29 percent respectively. Energy-related stocks were also downbeat, with Santos falling 1.78 percent.
Greater China equities edged down in early trade as markets continued to focus on climbing bond yields. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.68 percent. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.67 percent and the Shenzhen Composite shed 0.77 percent.
Stateside, US stocks closed higher on Friday, with retail stocks notching gains as investors tooks bets on a strong holiday shopping season.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.14 percent, or 31.81 points, to close at 23,557.99 and the S&P 500 edged up 0.21 percent to close at 2,602.42 — its first time finishing above the 2,600 mark.
THE LEAD UP
Chinese industrial companies saw their profits grow 25.1 percent in October compared to the year before, according to Reuters. That was a touch below the 27.7 percent rise seen in September.
Germany was in the spotlight over the weekend, with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) reversing course over coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. A member of the SPD on Saturday indicated that party members were likely to approve entering a coalition with the CDU if SPD leaders made a “convincing proposal.”
On the data front, business confidence data in Germany hit a record level in November, according to data released Friday. The Ifo survey rose to 117.5 compared to the 116.6 projected in a Reuters poll.
The euro traded higher on Friday following those developments, touching as high as $1.1944 during the session compared to Thursday’s close of $1.1848. The common currency traded at $1.1921 at 10:09 a.m. HK/SIN.
Elsewhere, China announced Friday it would be reducing tariffs on 187 consumer goods. The tariff cuts, which will affect everything from special infant milk formula to clothing, are set to take effect from Dec. 1, 2017.
Meanwhile, bitcoin hit yet another record high as investor interest picked up during the holiday season. The cryptocurrency cracked the $9,600 mark on Monday, according to industry site CoinDesk.
WATCHING THE DOLLAR
The dollar was steady against a basket of major currencies. The dollar index stood at 92.816 at 10:03 a.m. HK/SIN, near its lowest in around eight weeks. The greenback lost steam after initially firming against the yen, with the U.S. currency slipping to 111.41 after rising as high as 111.68 during the session.
THE COMMODITIES TRADE
Oil markets were in focus ahead of a Nov. 30 meeting among major oil producers. Ahead of that meeting, Russia indicated that it was prepared to support a deal that extended an ongoing OPEC-led output cut.
Brent crude futures were 0.14 percent lower at $63.77. U.S. crude futures were off 0.42 percent at $58.71 per barrel after settling at a two-year high of $58.95 last week.