Asian Markets End Mixed as Trump Begins Asian Tour

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off his tour of Asia in Japan over the weekend with tough rhetoric and an anti-corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia resulted in the arrest of several Saudi princes and ministers, including prominent investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 17.37 points or 0.5 percent to 3,389.12 even as banking stocks fell after People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan spelled out his strategy to ward off systematic financial risks.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 6.81 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 28,596.80 ahead of Chinese current account, foreign-exchange reserves and consumer inflation data later this week.

Japanese shares ended roughly flat as trading resumed after a long holiday weekend. The Nikkei 225 Index pared early gains to close marginally higher at 22,548.35, while the broader Topix index ended down 0.1 percent at 1,792.66.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell over 1 percent after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank would closely monitor the effects of the continued low interest rate environment on the functioning of financial institutions.

SoftBank Group retreated 2.6 percent after the company and T-Mobile US called off their merger talks. Fast Retailing advanced 2.2 percent on reporting an 8.9 percent rise in same-store sales for October. Automaker Mazda Motor slumped 4.3 percent after posting disappointing quarterly results.

In economic news, the latest survey from Nikkei showed that the services sector in Japan expanded at an accelerated pace in October to hit a 26-month high.

Australian shares ended marginally lower as gains in energy stocks were offset by losses in the financial sector after Westpac Banking Corp posted a weaker-than-expected net profit and warned the outlook is becoming more challenging.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slid 6.10 points or 0.10 percent to 5,953.80 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended largely unchanged at 6,027.20.

Lender Westpac shed 2.2 percent after announcing its annual results while ANZ shed half a percent after unveiling plans to close its retail banking business in Philippines. Commonwealth dropped half a percent and NAB declined 0.7 percent.

Energy stocks like Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Petroleum rose between 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent after oil prices hit their highest levels since 2015 amid signs of tightening market conditions.

AGL Energy gained over 1 percent after it agreed to sell its digital metering subsidiary Active Stream to Ausgrid. Orica shares fell nearly 10 percent after the mining explosives maker maintained a cautious outlook for fiscal 2018.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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