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Asian Shares Close Mostly Higher As Oil Jumps

Mon, 15th May 2017 09:39

CANBERA (Alliance News) - Asian stocks closed broadly higher on Monday as oil prices jumped and weak US data raised a question mark over the extent of Fed tightening.

Meanwhile, investors took weak Chinese data, geopolitical worries and the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack in their stride.

Japanese shares closed marginally lower, with exporters retreating, as the yen held steady following the widespread cyber attack over the weekend and in the wake of weaker-than-expected data from the US.

The Nikkei average slipped 14.05 points or 0.07% to 19,689.85 while the broader Topix index closed 0.04% lower at 1,580.

Chinese shares rose for a third straight session as concerns over regulatory tightening ebbed and upbeat talk on trade and infrastructure investment at a top-level conference in China helped investors shrug off disappointing macro data.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 6.72 points or 0.22% to 3,090.23 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 224 points or 0.89% at 25,380 in late trade.

China's industrial production growth eased at a faster-than-expected pace in April, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Output climbed an annual 6.5%, slower than the 7.6% rise in March, while retail sales surged 10.7% in the month, just below the 10.9% spike in the prior month.

The country's fixed asset investment also grew at a slightly slower pace of 8.9% in April, but property investment growth accelerated to 9.3% in the first four months of 2017 from 9.1% in the first quarter.

Australian shares ended a choppy session little changed as banking stocks recovered some lost ground, helping offset losses among mining stocks following weaker Chinese data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 1.50 points or 0.03% to 5,838.40 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 2.50 points or 0.04% at 5,868.40.

The big four banks rose between 0.7% and 1%. Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 0.3% after launching a global rebranding. Rival Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group shed about 0.6% each.

Energy stocks ended mixed, with Woodside Petroleum finishing marginally lower, while Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy rose between 0.3% and 1.4%.

Oroton shares were placed in a trading halt after the struggling luxury handbag retailer warned its earnings have slipped in April.

Fairfax Media soared as much as 6.5% after US buyout firm TPG Capital Management raised its cash bid for the media firm.

Seoul shares gained ground and the local currency strengthened against the dollar despite a selling spree by foreign investors after cyber worm affected 2 lakh victims in 150 countries and North Korea claimed it had successfully conducted a newly developed mid-to-long range missile test.

The benchmark Kospi closed up 4.63 points or 0.20% at 2,290.65 as the country elected a president who vowed to engage with Kim Jong.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 22.44 points or 0.30% to 7.429.94, dragged down by healthcare and industrial stocks.

New Zealand retail sales jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.5% sequentially in the first three months of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said today. That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.9% after a 0.6% gain in the previous three months.

Elsewhere, benchmark indexes in India, Singapore and Taiwan were up between 0.2% and half a percent while Malaysian shares were marginally lower and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was declining 0.2%.

US stocks ended narrowly mixed on Friday, Treasury yields slipped and the dollar retreated as investors digested weak retail sales and inflation data as well as disappointing earnings updates from the likes of Nordstrom and JC Penney. A gauge of US consumer sentiment unexpectedly increased in May, offering some respite.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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