Asian Shares Mixed On FBI Clinton Probe
Traders also anxiously awaited manufacturing data out of China, the U.S. and Europe, Friday’s U.S. payrolls figures, and a slew of central bank meetings in the U.S., Japan, Australia and the U.K. for clues on global monetary policies.
Chinese shares eased somewhat after the political bureau of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee asked policymakers to guard against financial risks and rein in asset bubbles. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index edged down 3.78 points or 0.12 percent to 3,100.49 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is marginally lower at 22,940.
Japanese shares lost some momentum even as shares of shipping firms rallied on merger news. The Nikkei average inched down 21.39 points or 0.12 percent to 17,425.02 while the broader Topix index closed marginally higher at 1,393.02.
Alps Electric, Sumitomo Chemical, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Takeda Pharma were among the worst performers, with losses ranging between 3 percent and 4 percent.
Shares of Nippon Yusen KK and Mitsui OSK Lines climbed around 6 percent each after the country’s three biggest shipping firms announced plans to merge their container operations into one company by July 1.
In economic news, official data showed today that Japan’s industrial output held unchanged in September, missing forecasts for an increase of 0.9 percent following a 1.3 percent gain in August. Retail sales fell for the seventh straight month amid continued weakness in domestic consumption.
Australian shares broke a three-day losing streak, as banks reversed early losses and economic reports on private sector credit and inflation painted a mostly positive picture of the economy. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 33.90 points or 0.64 percent to 5,317.70 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 31.50 points or 0.59 percent higher at 5,402.40.
ANZ Bank closed 0.8 percent higher after selling its retail and wealth business in five Asian countries to Singapore’s DBS Bank. The other three big banks rose between 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent ahead of the RBA meeting on Tuesday, with many economists expecting the central bank to hold its cash rate steady at 1.5 percent.
Mining giant Rio Tinto gained 0.8 percent after it agreed to sell its Simandou iron ore project to China’s Chinalco. Rival BHP Billiton rose 0.4 percent while Fortescue Metals Group slipped 0.2 percent.
Seoul shares drifted lower amid uncertainty over the future of the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, in the wake of allegations that she let an old friend interfere in important state affairs. The Kospi average dropped 11.23 points or 0.56 percent to 2,008.19. Shares of Hanjin Shipping soared 25 percent to buck the weak trend after it received five initial bids for its Asia-U.S. business.
Investors ignored a government report, which showed that South Korea’s industrial output rose more than expected in September after a 2.4 percent fall in August.
Gold miners Northern Star, Evolution Mining and Newcrest rallied 2-5 percent as gold prices advanced on safe-haven demand ahead of Fed, BOJ and BOE meetings and the November 8 U.S. presidential election.
Oil stocks ended narrowly mixed as oil extended declines in Asian deals after losing around 2 percent on Friday. Ardent Leisure shares fell 1 percent to extend last week’s losses. Airline Qantas Airways jumped over 4 percent after releasing its quarterly earnings update.
New Zealand shares showed muted performance as investors digested mixed business confidence and building permits data. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose by 17.38 points or 0.25 percent to 6,960.68, with Spark New Zealand, Rakon and Ryman Healthcare leading the gainers.
Sky Network Television shares tumbled 3.8 percent after the New Zealand Commerce Commission wrote to Sky and Vodafone seeking further details on their planned merger.
Elsewhere, the Indian markets are closed for a public holiday. Benchmark indexes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are up between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent while the Taiwan Weighted slipped 0.2 percent.
U.S. stocks settled with small losses on Friday and the dollar slipped against major currencies on increased political uncertainty about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
While corporate earnings proved a mixed bag, strong U.S. GDP data strengthened the case for a Federal Reserve rate increase in December.
The Dow slipped 0.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped half a percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent to hit their lowest levels in over a month.
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