Moneycontrol
Jun 19, 2017 07:38 AM IST | Source: CNBC

Asian markets trade higher as markets await political developments in Europe

Markets in greater China were in the green, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 0.56 percent. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.22 percent and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.273 percent.

Asian markets trade higher as markets await political developments in Europe

Asian bourses traded in the green on Monday as markets geared up ahead of Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union, and as French President Emmanuel Macron's party won a parliamentary majority at the weekend.

A report said a van reportedly drove into a crowd of people in the Finsbury Park Area of London and that police reported a number of casualties and one person had been arrested. "Enquiries continue," the metropolitan police wrote in a notice on the incident.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.59 percent and South Korea's Kospi edged higher by 0.55 percent.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.53 percent, on strength from its utilities and financials sub-indexes.

Markets in greater China were in the green, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 0.56 percent. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.22 percent and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.273 percent.

This followed the release of new home prices in China for May, which reflected that prices rose 10.4 percent on year compared to the 10.7 percent rise seen in April, Reuters said.

South Korean tech stocks trended higher. Shares of Samsung Electronics were up by 1.45 percent and SK Hynix soared by 2.81 percent.

Nomura had maintained its "Buy" call on SK Hynix and raised its target price from 60,500 won a stock to 100,000 won a stock in a note from last Friday. This was due to the reduced risk of an oversupply in the memory market and better prospects for a Toshiba deal to be completed, said CW Chung, a research analyst at Nomura.

Shares of Singapore-listed commodity trader Noble Group soared 9.23 percent after Reuters reported that its creditors had extended a critical repayment deadline by four months.

Against the yen, the dollar fetched as high as 110.93 following the release of Japan trade data for the month of May, slightly higher than levels around 110.88 seen earlier. Dollar/yen last traded at 111.02.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Currency Strategist Joseph Capurso told CNBC he saw further downside to dollar/yen in the coming months, heading to 108 yen to the dollar, driven by Japan's current account surplus.

Latest government data showed exports from Japan rose 14.9 percent on year compared to the 16.1 percent rise projected by a Reuters poll. Japan's trade balance, however, registered a deficit of 203.4 billion yen (USD 1.83 billion) compared to the 76 billion yen surplus expected.

The dollar was firmer at 97.177 against a basket of rival currencies compared to levels around 97.115 seen in the previous session. The Australian dollar gained for a second straight session to trade at USD 0.7625 compared to the USD 0.75 handle seen last week.

The euro was slightly softer at USD 1.1196, while the British pound mostly flat at USD 1.2767, continuing to trade around the USD 1.27 handle seen through the last week. This comes ahead of scheduled talks between negotiations between the European Union and the UK regarding Brexit arrangements.

Meanwhile, oil prices trended lower. Brent crude declined 0.44 percent to trade at USD 47.16 a barrel and US crude shed 0.47 percent to trade at USD 44.53.

Hong Kong GDP for the first quarter is expected later in the day at 4:30 p.m. HK/SIN.

Stateside, markets closed mixed on the back of weaker-than-expected housing starts and consumer confidence data. Investors also digested news that Amazon would be buying supermarket chain Whole Foods.
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