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Asian markets hold steady, shaking off U.K. tensions

Stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region were stable early
Monday after the latest terror attacks in London, though
benchmarks in Korea and Australia succumbed to profit taking
ahead of elections in the U.K.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200

XJO, -0.81%

  was recently down 0.7% while the Kospi

SEU, +0.04%

  was off 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, -0.31%

  was down 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average

NIK, +0.12%

  was 0.1% higher.

“There seems to be a little bit of fatigue” in markets
following the recent gains, said Vishnu Varathan, a
Singapore-based economist at Mizuho Bank. Investors are looking
ahead to moves by the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank
for guidance, he said.

Analysts also expect cautious trading in global markets this
week ahead of the U.K. elections on Thursday, especially
following Saturday’s attack in London — the third attack in
Britain in recent months — which left seven dead and scores

On Sunday, U.K. police said they arrested 12 people in east
London in connection with the attacks. Islamic State has
claimed responsibility.

On Monday, stocks in Japan opened lower after the benchmark
index hit its highest point since August 2015 on Friday. Weaker
U.S. job-growth data hurt U.S. Treasury yields and weighed on
the dollar against the yen.

But the yen gave up some of its early gains against the dollar
— and helped the Nikkei pare losses — with the currency pair at
¥110.51 in morning trade after the dollar fell to as low as

Among specific stocks in Japan, steel, automobile and brokerage
firms were among the biggest decliners, with the continued
unwinding of the so-called Trump reflation trade.

Steel maker JFE Holdings

5411, -2.28%

  was down 3%, Mitsubishi Motors

7211, -2.51%

  lost 2.9% and Nomura Holdings

8604, -1.99%

  was down 1.9%.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against 16
other currencies, was up 0.1% at 88.37 after Friday dropping to
its lowest closing value since Nov. 8, 2016.

In Australia, declines were led by selling in bank stocks.

“Pressure is coming in the index heavyweights, especially in
the banks,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at
CMC Markets.


WBC, -2.39%

  was down 2.2%, National Australia Bank

NAB, -2.31%

  was off 2% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

ANZ, -2.37%

  was 1.8% lower.

Trading in Asia was being driven by expectations for a selloff
in U.S. shares once markets there open, because profit-taking
pressure has been building, McCarthy said.

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