Asia stocks continued from last week’s downbeat end to close mostly lower on Monday with Japan’s benchmark index leading the region’s declines.
The Australian market opened lower on Monday, which Tumul Sinha, associate Equities Analyst at ASR Wealth Advisers, blamed on “growing concern around the tax reform bill, coupled with Wall Street closing in the red with Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet shares dropping.” The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 recovered in the afternoon but still closed 0.19% lower weighed down by utilities and banks. Australian wind power producer Infigen (IFN.AU) fell 3% to its lowest March 2016 which could have something to do with the recovery in the oil price. The boost in oil prices did little for oil & gas stocks, however, with Santos (STO.AU) gaining just 0.6%, while Oil Search (OSH.AU) lost 0.9%. The big miners Rio Tinto (RIO.AU) and BHP Billiton (BHP.AU) both ended pretty much flat despite a boost to iron ore prices. The best performing stock was Seven Group, which soared 8% after Goldman Sachs hiked its target price on the stock saying its WestTrac and newly acquired Coates Hire businesses will benefit from an increase in infrastructure spending.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.6% lower, which has been blamed on the collapse of German coalition talks, which subsequently sent the Japanese yen higher as the Euro fell. Fujikura gained the most, surging 6% after Nomura said the company form Chinese demand for wire and cable. On the broader Topix index, Maeda (1824.JP) jumped more than 8% after Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley upgraded the construction company to overweight (from neutral). MS&AD (8725.JP) fell 5.5% after Nomura lowered its price target after the insurance company cut its guidance. Meanwhile, embattled Toshiba Corp (6502.JP) slumped 5.8% after announcing plans to issue $5.4 billion in new shares to allow the electronics giant to pay off debt at its bankrupt U.S. nuclear power business, Westinghouse.
Focus in the mainland was on financial and banking stocks after Chinese regulators proposed sweeping rules to curb risks in the country’s $15 trillion (€12.7 trillion) of asset-management products. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.28% higher. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 0.21% higher with Chinese internet giant Tencent (700.HK) jumping 4% to a new record high. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index, known as the H-shares gauge, closed 0.6% lower, with just 6 of the 40 constituents in the green. Car maker BYD (1211.HK) was the biggest gainer, jumping 8% as it aims achieve revenue of CNY1 trillion by 2025.
Elsewhere, Korea’s KOSPI closed 0.25% lower, while Taiwan’s TAIEX slipped 0.35%.
European markets are tracking weakness in Asia with the Euro STOXX 0.23% lower, while the German DAX is 0.33% down.
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