Asian stock markets edge higher; US dollar falls against yen

By , on January 15, 2018


Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $64.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $64.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Monday after Wall Street’s strong finish last week. The U.S. dollar weakened against most major currencies, including the Japanese yen.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 per cent to 23,714.88 and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 per cent to 2,505.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 0.7 per cent to 31,638.34 and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5 per cent to 3,412.52. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1 per cent to 6,077.10. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were moderately higher.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “U.S. equity markets and the U.S. dollar took a different turn on Friday, with a buffet of drivers at work,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. “The implication for Asian markets is one of sustained gains for the region on a quiet Monday.”

CHINA RISK: Shares slipped in Shanghai and Shenzhen after the China Banking Regulatory Commission issued a notice over the weekend calling for stricter oversight over financial risks. The notice took aim at preventing banks from shifting funds into stocks, property investments, local government financing vehicles and industries that violate national policies on pollution or excess capacity, among other areas of concern.

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets finished higher on Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.7 per cent to finish at 2,786.24 and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.9 per cent to 25,803.19. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 0.7 per cent to 7,261.06 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 0.3 per cent to 1,591.97. U.S. markets are closed Monday for a public holiday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $64.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 50 cents to settle at $64.30 per barrel in the previous session. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 6 cents to $69.93 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 110.82 Japanese yen from 111.04 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.2215 from $1.2199.