Asian shares give up early gains as po­lit­i­cal risks loom

Sun.Star Pampanga - - BUSINESS! - Hares were mixed in Asia af­ter an up­beat start to the week, with Chi­nese bench­marks lead­ing de­clin­ers. The air strikes on Syria ap­peared to be hav­ing scant im­pact on trad­ing Mon­day. Eyes were on Chi­nese GDP data due on Tues­day.

KEEP­ING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 in­dex gained 0.3 per­cent to 21,839.47, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.5 per­cent to 30,355.93 and the Shang­hai Com­pos­ite in­dex sank 1.5 per­cent to 3,111.65. South Korea’s Kospi was flat at 2,454.86 and Aus­tralia’s S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.2 per­cent to 5,838.60. Shares fell in Tai­wan and Sin­ga­pore and rose in In­done­sia.

MID­DLE EAST: The lead­ers of Rus­sia, Iran and the Hezbol­lah group in Le­banon said Sun­day that West­ern airstrikes on their ally Syria, tar­get­ing its chem­i­cal weapons pro­gram, have com­pli­cated prospects for a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment to the coun­try’s seven-year con­flict. Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Sun­day de­fended his use of the phrase “Mis­sion Ac­com­plished” to de­scribe the U.S.-led mis­sile at­tack, while his aides stressed con­tin­u­ing U.S. troop in­volve­ment and plans for new eco­nomic sanc­tions against Rus­sia for en­abling the govern­ment of Bashar As­sad.

AN­A­LYST VIEWPOINT: “The mar­kets are tak­ing the sur­gi­cal strike at the heart of Syria’s chem­i­cal weapon pro­gram in stride as traders had priced in this out­come with a high de­gree of prob­a­bil­ity,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a com­men­tary. He added, “With trade war and now Syria fa­tigue likely to set in, how­ever, it’s best not to get too com­fort­able at this point as mar­ket risk sen­ti­ment swings will re­main large this week.”

CHINA TRADE: The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion on Fri­day tar­geted China and five other coun­tries in­clud­ing al­lies Japan and South Korea for spe­cial mon­i­tor­ing for what the ad­min­is­tra­tion says are prac­tices that are wors­en­ing Amer­ica’s trade deficit. But the im­pact on fi­nan­cial mar­kets in Asia was lim­ited as it comes at a time of even harsher threats of U.S. penalty tar­iffs on China and other na­tions.

CHINA ECON­OMY: Chi­nese shares de­clined ahead of the re­lease of eco­nomic growth data that are ex­pected to show the econ­omy over­shoot­ing the of­fi­cial tar­get to sus­tain a 6.8 per­cent an­nual pace in the first quar­ter of the year. Tues­day’s re­port of monthly fig­ures for March, the first since the lu­nar new year hol­i­days, will pro­vide fresh in­sights into con­di­tions across the world’s No. 2 econ­omy.

WALL STREET: On Fri­day, bank stocks buck­led de­spite re­ports of higher prof­its for some. The S&P 500 fell 0.3 per­cent to 2,656.30, par­ing the in­dex’s gain for the week to 2 per­cent. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age dropped 0.5 per­cent to 24,360.14, and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite lost 0.5 per­cent to 7,106.65. As a group, fi­nan­cial stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.6 per­cent, more than dou­ble the loss for any of the other 10 sec­tors that make up the in­dex.

EN­ERGY: Oil prices fell back from spikes last week on fears over an es­ca­la­tion of strife in the Mid­dle East, with U.S. bench­mark crude fall­ing 58 cents to $66.81 per bar­rel in elec­tronic trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. It gained 32 cents on Fri­day to $67.39. Brent crude, which is used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, fell 73 cents to $71.85 per bar­rel.

CUR­RENCY: The dol­lar was trad­ing at 107.25 yen, down from 107.36 yen late Fri­day. The euro edged higher to $1.2335 from $1.2333.

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