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Asian Shares Decline in Mute Trading Session

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended Thursday?s session on a muted note despite higher commodity prices and positive cues from Wall Street overnight.

Crude oil prices extended gains after climbing to a more than two-month high on Wednesday as investors eyed disruptions to global supplies once U.S. sanctions on Iran come into force.

Chinese stocks ended roughly flat on trade concerns after Alibaba?s founder and chairman Jack Ma said the e-commerce giant no longer plans to create one million jobs in the U.S. amid the ongoing trade conflict between the U.S. and China.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 1.60 points or 0.1 percent to 2,729.25, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 70.30 points or 0.3 percent to 27,477.67.

Japanese shares also ended little changed after seeing sharp gains earlier this week. The Nikkei 225 Index finished marginally higher at 23,674.93 as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election as leader of his ruling party. The broader Topix Index inched up 0.1 percent to 1,787.60.

Nishimatsuya Chain tumbled 4 percent after the company cut its profit forecast for the six months through August.

Banks performed well after a surge in U.S. Treasury yields. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group advanced 1.6 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 1.4 percent and Mizuho Financial rose 1.3 percent.

Australian markets fell modestly, dragged down by banks and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 20.50 points or 0.3 percent to 6,169.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 0.32 percent at 6,276.90.

The big four banks fell between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent. Energy stocks also ended broadly lower despite crude oil prices rising to a more than two-month high overnight. Beach Energy tumbled 2.8 percent, Origin Energy lost 1.7 percent and Oil Search declined 0.9 percent.

Shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson slumped 6.3 percent after the investment company reported a 20 percent decline in profits.

Meanwhile, mining heavyweight Rio Tinto jumped 3.6 percent and rival BHP Billiton rose 1.1 percent after copper prices surged to hit a three-week high.

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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