Asian markets mixed after recent gains but mood remains upbeat

by AFP/ pic by TMR FILE

HONG KONG – Most Asian markets were mixed Monday as investors took a step back after last week’s rally, though the mood remains upbeat after the China-US trade pact was signed, while the global outlook appears a little rosier.

Focus now turns to the release of corporate earnings, with big US names including Netflix, IBM and Hyundai due to report over the coming days.

Friday’s broadly healthy Chinese data provided some reassurance to traders, indicating a growth slowdown in the world’s number two economy may have bottomed out, and suggesting this year could see some improvement.

“We are entering 2020 on a more stable footing with economies globally stabilising and looking like they’re turning up, and the phase one trade deal,” Anne Anderson, of UBS Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV. “So it’s a bit more positive with regard to the economic fundamentals.”

The positive sentiment helped Wall Street to chalk up more records, though there are worries the upward momentum could slow and gains could trigger some profit-taking soon.

In Asian trade, Tokyo and Sydney each ended up 0.2 percent, while Shanghai gained 0.7 percent. Seoul piled on 0.5 percent while Taipei was also up.

Element of worry

But Hong Kong struggled after last week’s advances and was 0.7 percent lower in the afternoon, with Singapore, Wellington, Mumbai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila also in the red.

AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes said the general outlook was for further rises.

“There’s a belief that global growth will continue to pick up speed over the coming months, as significant downside risks to the global economy have been turned aside, and worries over a possible recession have diminished, with the data giving credence to the possibility,” he said in a note.

However, Michael Hewson of CMC Markets UK said there was still “an element of worry, with the resilience of the gold price speaking to a market that doesn’t necessarily want to put all of its eggs into one basket”.

Oil prices rose more than one percent on supply concerns after exports from Libya, which has been riven by fighting between rival factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, were blocked after a pipeline was shut down by armed forces.

And in Iraq, which is OPEC’s second-biggest producer, a strike at a key oil field hit output. There are also fears that long-simmering tensions could explode into major unrest, with matters not helped by the US killing in the country this month of Iran’s top general.

Key figures around 0710 GMT

  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 24,083.51 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 percent at 28,853.01
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,095.79 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1100 from $1.1093 at 2200 GMT Friday
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2988 from $1.3010 
  • Euro/pound: UP at 85.46 pence from 85.27 pence
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 110.18 yen from 110.12 yen
  • Brent Crude: UP 81 cents $65.66 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 62 cents at $59.16 per barrel
  • New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 29,348.10 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,674.56 (close)