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.
- Govt to issue fresh statement 3108
- GMOA threatens another strike 3067
- Rs 40 Bn more needed to correct flaws 3581
- Two more students arrested 3061
- Teachers threaten strike 3064
- Scot stranded in SL begs for help to return home 3065
- Return of Lanka’s boat people 3064
- GHSATD on strike 3055
- Daylight heist in Ragama 3052
- Six million in disaster prone areas 3051
- Details on Parliament vehicles withheld 3069
- Dambulla Rock Temple 3054
- India challenges China’s intentions 3059
- Surviving the Trump problem 3060
- Foreign policy geared to promoting unity –Ravi K 3056
- Strike cripples postal services 3057
- Garbage disposal facility at Puttalam 3049
- Anti-garbage drive in WP 3048
- J-SLPFL offers flood relief 3042
- Tea growers in doldrums after floods 3046
- Government takes a step back on SAITM Ignores human nature at your peril 3233
- Ampara Muslims celebrate Ramazan on grand scale 3045
- Committee hands in its recommendations 3045
- Govt to stop SAITM enrolment and degree awards 3681
- IUSF claims leaders’ parents threatened 3081
- The march of folly Uses and instruments of disinformation 1940
- TRUMP BREAKS EID TRADITION AT WHITE HOUSE 1946
- Amsterdam – Canals, Bicycles, and Rembrandt 1946
- The Ideal of Islamic Charity 2383
- Eid-Ul-Fitr a Unique Festival Time of Joy for Muslims 2386
- Frank de Boer appointed Crystal Palace manager 2379
- SLC hires Podiatrist from Aussie 2440
- De Villiers to meet with CSA in August to decide future 2381
- Galle CC players yet to be paid 2388
- Samitha seals Bronze in Korea 2380
- Mahela dismisses report about Indian coaching job 2383
- Jayantha follows Ford’s footsteps 2983
- Akash, Taniya, Dhuwarshan, Yannik and Reshan on Top 2382
- Ricciardo wins in Baku 2380
- Coleman downed again as upsets hit trials 2380
- Social media changing our lives 1746
- Correlation between terrorism and Islam Fact or fiction? 1760
- Eid-ul-Fitr A day of thanksgiving to God in all humility 2389
- I regret introducing commercial whale watching – Ranawake 2747
- Beaten but not defeated 2728
- Railway worries and TU action 3779
- TNA jittery over TPC – C.V. Wigneswaran 2246
- TPC with a hidden agendaSeeks to weaken ITAK – Senathirajah 2148
- Lanka ranked global 5th in marine pollution– GENERAL MANAGER OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AUTHORITY DR. TERNEY PRADEEP KUMARA 3577
- NGO funded ‘traitors’ don’t want peace in Sri Lanka – Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe 4655
- Amaranthé Bay wins ‘2017 Certificate of Excellence’ 1982
- Vespa and Aprilia SR 150 launched in Sri Lanka 1985
- The adversity of Trumponomics and Philippines goes 'Blink' 1981
- The need for a ‘Smarter Trade Strategy’ to be discussed 1981
- ThreadSol – Key to accelerating apparel exports 1982
- DR. SAMAN KELEGAMA: A STUPENDOUS CONTRIBUTION TO THE STATE, PRIVATE SECTORS 2004
- Exciting new leasing promo from Commercial Bank and United Motors 1982
- Kanrich Finance receives Carbon Conscious Certificate 1985
- Mastercard expands Labs in Asia Pacific 1983
- Sampath Bank named ‘Most Innovative Bank’ in Sri Lanka 1978
- Holistic social intervention The crying need for waste management 3836
- A time of gifts Beginning of my second year 2359
- Enlightening the younger generation 2692
- Explore what lies under the waves With the Power Ray Drone 1030
- She’s the Man: Review 1024
- Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis 1291
- Eid-ul-Fitr A day of Love and Compassion 1297
- The Brains behind Royal and Regal 1511
- Try this when people come to you with their problems 3450
- International Yoga Day Celebration 3432
- Females born under Maha Bhagya Yoga 3444
- Latest Findings on Coconut Oil Kills Cancer in Two Days! 3706
- Birth Nakshatra says what you are – Part 4 3424
- Flying with the Flamingos Saga of the survival of the human spirit 3899
- Hindustani Vocal recital 3838
- Flying with Flamingos Literary exploration into protracted conflict 3899
- Battles and Laments 3890
- Six walks in the fictional woods 3847
- Argus-eye Indexical Dimension of Sign-Making 3826
- Pickpockets! 3641
- Haunted House 3583
- Latest lady chef in city 914
- Horton Plains invaded 1040
- Haiti 901
- GERMANY 878
- Invention of coloured crayons for kids 888
- Sri Lankan contingent to take wing 893
- Jinyoung 701
- A colourful night 697
- The story of Madura 783
- Cycling through the island 700
- It’s all about winning 708
- Flying cars soon a reality? 702
LATEST NEWSRead More