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Asian Shares Extend Losses Amid Lack Of Triggers

by December 23, 2016 General
CANBERA (dpa-AFX) – Asian stocks extended their recent losses in thin trading on Friday, the last trading day before Christmas, after Wall Street stocks fell for a second straight session overnight.

While Chinese shares led losses, the Japanese market was closed for the Emperor’s birthday. Many major regional markets will be closed on Monday since Christmas falls on Sunday.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures slipped in Asian deals after rising about 1 percent to close at $52.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange overnight, driven by strong U.S. economic data.

China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 29.40 points or 0.94 percent to 3,110.15, dragged down by financials, after two major Chinese cities tightened housing purchase restrictions and reports emerged that regulators would tighten supervision over online insurance products.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.23 percent at 21,587 as upbeat U.S. GDP data spurred concerns about capital inflows to emerging markets.

Australian shares fell slightly on the last business day before Christmas, as gains among oil stocks offset weakness in the mining sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 16 points or 0.28 percent to 5,627.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 16.70 points or 0.29 percent lower at 5,675.10.

Miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group lost 2-4 percent after copper hit a one-month low and Chinese steel and iron ore futures fell about 4 percent. Banks ended flat to slightly lower while energy stocks such as Oil Search, Origin Energy, Woodside Petroleum and Santos gained between 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent.

Gambling company Tatts Group tumbled 2.9 percent after rejecting a takeover bid from Macquarie Bank-led Pacific Consortium and favoring a proposed $11 billion merger with Tabcorp. Grooming products retailer Shaver Shop fell as much as 14.6 percent after trimming revenue forecasts.

Seoul shares ended largely unchanged, with the benchmark Kospi inching up 0.17 point or 0.01 percent to 2,035.90. While POSCO, Hyundai Motor and SK Hynix climbed 1-2 percent, market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.5 percent.

New Zealand’s NZX-50 index rose 25.12 points or 0.37 percent to 6,876.99, climbing for a sixth day led by industrials. Auckland International Airport rallied 2.3 percent after unveiling passenger traffic figures for November. Spark New Zealand, Heartland Bank and Steel & Tube Holding rose about 2 percent each.

Elsewhere, Singapore’s Straits Times index was down 0.2 percent, Malaysia’s KLSE Composite was declining 0.3 percent and the Taiwan Weighted dropped 0.4 percent, while India’s Sensex was rising 0.4 percent and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index was moving up 0.1 percent.

U.S. stocks fell for a second straight session on Thursday, showing little reaction to data revealing that the world’s largest economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter. U.S. GDP climbed by 3.5 percent in the third quarter, reflecting an upward revision from the previously reported 3.2 percent increase.

However, other reports on durable goods orders, initial jobless claims, personal income and spending disappointed investors. The Dow inched down 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.4 percent.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX