Asia markets mostly higher but uncertainty prevails
AFP: Asian markets mostly rose Thursday following broad losses the previous two days but they struggled to maintain early momentum as analysts warned caution was prevailing on geopolitical worries and fading hopes for Donald Trump's stimulus drive.
Energy firms were among the main laggards, tracking losses in their US counterparts, after a surprise jump in US petroleum inventories sent oil prices skidding almost four per cent Wednesday.
Hong Kong added 0.4 per cent in the afternoon, Sydney put on 0.3 per cent by close, Seoul jumped 0.5 per cent and Singapore 0.1 per cent.
But Tokyo ended marginally lower, while Shanghai was also flat. Wellington and Taipei slipped.
Markets have been rattled in recent weeks by a series of events that upended the optimism that welcomed in the year.
Trump's failure to push through key healthcare reform last month dealt a huge blow to his chances of passing the tax-cutting, big-spending plan that had helped fan a global rally since his election win in November.
That was followed by a US missile strike on Syria – which hit US-Russian relations – and the ongoing sabre-rattling by North Korea that has fuelled worries about nuclear conflict.
At the same time France and Germany are preparing for elections that could have big implications for the eurozone, and Britain's shock decision to call a general election next month is also keeping dealers on edge.
Energy firms lag
And an uninspiring Federal Reserve report Wednesday on the US economy also failed to provide any lift.
"Geopolitical angst, a faltering US economy and the UK snap election are consuming investors mindsets," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.
"With (Other OTC: WWTH - news) so many uncertainties offering few incentives for investors to re-engage risk exposure, clearly there is little market bravado as dealers appear to be disposed to participate after the fact, rather than play the post-election knee-jerk."
Crude enjoyed a slight recovery in Asia after the oil minister of Saudi Arabia suggested an output cut among major producers "might have to" be extended.
But investors kept away from big-name companies after the US energy (Frankfurt: 32984229.F - news) agency announced the increase in petroleum stockpiles, which fuelled worries about demand as the country heads into the crucial holiday season when Americans take to the roads.
CNOOC (HKSE: 0883-OL.HK - news) fell 1.3 per cent and PetroChina (HKSE: 0857-OL.HK - news) shed 1.1 per cent in Hong Kong, while Sydney-listed Woodside Petroleum (Frankfurt: WOP.F - news) lost 1.2 per cent and Inpex sank 1.3 per cent in Tokyo.
On forex markets, eyes are on this weekend's first round vote in the French presidential elections, with a four-way race making it tough to call who will go into the run-off.
There are fears a win for far-right leader Marine Le Pen (Other OTC: PENC - news) , riding a wave of populism, could see the collapse of the eurozone after she said she would withdraw France from the currency bloc.
In early European trade London and Paris each fell 0.2 per cent, while Frankfurt shed 0.4 per cent.
Proposed crippling countrywide strike TO SAVE ECONOMY, ASSETS, NATURAL RESOURCES– D.J. RAJAKARUNA
- Harmony needed for religious freedom – Minister 1646
- CMC property taxes 1643
- Proposed tax on EPF, ETF ICEU seeks urgent meeting with Minister 1644
- Car plunges into river Two dead, three critically injured 1645
- Arson attack on schoolgirl’s house Minister promises new home 1646
- Australian gender advocate in Lanka Broderick to meet business, public leaders 1643
- Fire at Weligama textile store 1641
- Protest planned on Matale A9 Road Compensation demand for lost property 1643
- Rs 128,250,000 spent on survey Samurdhi union demands reimbursement 1642
- NEC to boost economy – President Shot in the arm for agriculture sector 1643
- Driver who killed 13 in Barcelona rampage Spanish police in manhunt 1639
- NLB, DLB back with Finance Ministry 1637
- Govt. has failed says Sampanthan Complains in letter to UNSG 1636
- New LG Draft Bill in Parliament on 24 August 1637
- Travis Sinniah appointed Navy Chief Holder of highest combat medal 1641
- Solution to ethnic issue New Constitution the only way – Mano 1637
- 18-year sentence sought for Lankan Convicted of human smuggling 1637
- SIS man on the mat Nabbed with gold at BIA 1637
- Dullas defends Wijeyadasa 1639
- Student leader Ryan remanded Surrenders to Court through lawyers 1637
- No mandate for foreign judges – Marapana 1637
- Floods, landslides cost Rs 109 B Rs 70B needed to rebuild houses – PM 1637
- China and Turkey aspiring for Greatness in the World 3259
- General Wanasinghe’s 84th birthday today 3357
- Wiggy blasts Thavarajah 3419
- Bribery and corruption pervasive malaise in Sri Lanka 1645
- Schoolboy publisher Notching up half a century in business 1642
- Spirits Nether world inhabitants visiting us 1644
- Persisting pseudo ideals 1638
- LAW OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 1914
- Seven countries compete 1640
- Saparamadu wins gold medal in Taiwan 1643
- Theekshana, Ranasinghe emerge champions 1641
- Doluweera and Sayuni win in chess 1644
- Singer Cup’ U-17 Division II Cricket St. Peter’s meet Galahitiyawa Central 1641
- Ronaldo nominated for FIFA player award 1641
- Halep advances 1637
- Ton-up Cook and Root give Windies hard day’s night 1637
- England power to semi finals 1637
- More Floodlights for Dambulla 1658
- Political commentary What’s next? Who’s next? 3676
- THE SHADOWS IN THE CB SCAMS 4463
- Turmeric eaten on daily basis reverses cancer Confirmed by new scientific evidence 3936
- Drivers welcome stiffer traffic fines 4688
- What the FCID have achieved since 2015 3772
- Proposed crippling countrywide strike TO SAVE ECONOMY, ASSETS, NATURAL RESOURCES– D.J. RAJAKARUNA 2586
- No taxes on EPF withdrawals– John Seneviratne 3294
- Zero support for Justice Minister within UNP – Ajith P. Perera 3338
- Recent increase in security has caused fear among Northerners – Ramanathan 2637
- Lanka should gain from OBOR - Dr. Jayasuriya 3897
- China cracks down on VPN vendors 1644
- Roaming downtime hits customers on Three in Europe 1644
- Very few girls took computing A-levels 1643
- Chatbot helps students to choose courses 1644
- Game of Thrones struck by fresh leak 1642
- Peanut allergy treatment ‘lasts up to four years’ 1642
- Anger and hatred can make us feel happy, says study 1638
- Japanese fungus spreading in UK hospitals 1638
- Plants ‘hijacked’ to make polio vaccine 1639
- Disruption is over, and Facebook won 1638
- A time of gifts Staying on 1397
- Manuka honey:The superbug killer 2230
- A time of gifts Trying to settle down 2127
- Chithral releases his latest song 1396
- Florals: A Fashion Favourite 1394
- Be a lioness not a lamb 906
- Places to visit in Kandy 1262
- Dhothalu Oya Sandaraja Forest amidst tea estates 1390
- Understanding and Interpreting their results 1859
- Two lunar eclipses in August 1730
- Undergoing an Erashtaka period ? 1717
- Aging with Venus 1673
- Gemstones empower aura 1682
- Correlation Between Social Formation and Text 3765
- The global and local in Hong Kong cinema-part 05 3671
- Commendations or Brickbats 4313
- Why we should listen to Jane Austen in the age of Tinder 4457
- Lullaby of the Ever-Returning Love universal yet coloured by culture 4461
- A story of Palestinians without Palestine 3647
- First impressions, are they important? 3652
- Oscar nominee to perform in Sri Lanka 3644
- Healing the helpless 1728
- Winging it overseas 1713
- From the hospital to the news room 1732
- India revisited 1702
- Showers of blessings 1720
- Healing from port to port 1696
- Master gamers 1717
- The flawed beauty 1705
- The second best in Asia 1708
- Young robotics engineers 1667
- A quest to fight evil 1673
- NCT Dream 1670