Tokyo, Japan (BBN) – Asian shares wavered in early Monday trade after U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on Friday.
MARKETS ON THE MOVE
The Nikkei 225 fell 0.72 percent, with trading houses, financials and retailers mostly lower. Energy-related stocks, however, were mixed against the broadly declining index: Fuji Oil Holding rose 1.15 percent while Inpex slid 1.52 percent, reports CNBC.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi edged down 0.39 percent as gains in automakers and cosmetics stocks were offset by losses in manufacturing names: Amorepacific rose 2.03 percent, Hyundai Motor jumped 3.24 percent and Samsung Heavy fell 2.38 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.22 percent. Moderate losses in the heavily-weighted financials sub-index, which fell 0.73 percent, weighed on the broader index.
Greater China markets were mostly higher. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.41 percent in early trade. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.24 percent while the Shenzhen Composite was off 0.18 percent.
Asian corporates on the earnings calendar on Monday include Mizuho Financial Group and Rakuten. Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, which is listed on the Nasdaq, will report during U.S. hours.
U.S. stocks mostly closed lower on Friday, extending losses made on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.17 percent, or 39.73 points, to end at 23,422.21.
Eleven countries have agreed on “core elements” in a regional trade pact from which the U.S. pulled out earlier this year. Japan has led talks for the trade deal, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), since the U.S. withdrew. Reuters reported the agreement had not yet been finalised.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia has called for an urgent Arab League minsterial meeting to discuss Iran’s role in the region. The meeting, which comes on the back of elevated tensions, is expected to be held in Cairo, Reuters said.
E-commerce giant Alibaba said it brought in a record $25 billion in sales on Singles’ Day this year, above last year’s haul of $17.8 billion. The online shopping event, which initially began as an anti-Valentines’ Day celebration of sorts, takes place annually on Nov. 11.
Meanwhile, ride-hailing platform Uber is on the verge of reaching an agreement to sell a stake of the company to Japan’s SoftBank, the New York Times reported. The deal would see a group of SoftBank-led investors take a stake of at least 14 percent in Uber, the Times added. Shares of SoftBank were down 1.11 percent.
Razer, a gaming hardware company, was in focus as it made its debut on the Hong Kong Exchange. The company’s shares rose more than 30 percent above its issue price of HK$3.88 at the open. Razer’s listing follows China Literature’s Hong Kong debut last week, which saw the Tencent-backed online literature platform’s stock rise some 90 percent on its first day of trade.
WATCHING THE DOLLAR
The British pound fell to trade at $1.3118 at 9:20 a.m. HK/SIN compared to levels around the $1.318 handle seen at the end of last week. Markets digested headlines that 40 Conservative members of Parliament intended to sign a letter of no-confidence in British Prime Minister May as Brexit talks dragged on.
The Australian dollar edged down to trade at $0.7644 at 8:16 a.m. HK/SIN compared to Friday’s close of $0.7661. The currency had been pressured following the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s quarterly statement last week.
“[U]nless there is massive surprise in the data or an abrupt shift in RBA rhetoric, who appear sidelined indefinitely on tepid growth and apathetic inflation figures, the Aussie should remain pressured,” Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific head of trading at OANDA, said in a note.
The currency’s slide on Monday also came after news of yet another member of Parliament resigning on Saturday due to citizenship issues. The Australian constitution blocks dual nationals from Parliament.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of six currencies, stood at 94.559 at 8:17 a.m. HK/SIN, above Friday’s close of 94.392 but below levels around the 94.7 handle early last week.
THE COMMODITIES TRADE
Oil prices were firmer after slipping on Friday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude inched higher by 0.23 percent to trade at $56.87 a barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.16 percent to $63.62.