Asian Stocks Rise on Wall St Vigor, Weaker Energy Keeps ASX Down
- Asian stock markets gained on Wall Street pep and a weaker US Dollar.
- Australia was the exception.
- The energy sector wilted on news that US producers can’t stop adding to their rig counts.
Most Asian markets were in the green Monday, tracking Wall Street’s perky Friday, although there is still some caution around as investors look toward the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision later in the week.
This is widely expected to include an interest rate rise. Last week’s official US labor-market data were seen as the last potential stumbling block to a hike, but they came in quite strongly.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 shrugged off earlier losses to trade up 0.2% into the close. A generally stronger US Dollar helped its plentiful export names. The Yen was weakened further on its own account by a woefully weak reading of February’s machine orders, which missed forecasts by a country mile.
South Korea’s Kospi traded very strongly, rising more than 1%, despite President Park Geun-hye’s removal from office. There seems to be some relief that this long story has reached some sort of end. Park left the presidential residence on Sunday, two days after the Constitutional Court in Seoul upheld her impeachment.
Mainland Chinese stocks and their Hong Kong counterparts also managed modest gains. The Hong Kong-listed shares ofHSBC gained sharply on news that AIA Group Chief Executive Mark Tucker was appointed chairman.
Australia’s ASX was the standout faller. It shed about 0.4%, with the energy sub-index weighing. That in turn was hit by crude oil prices’ fall to three-month lows on news that US producers keep adding new rigs to their operations. International benchmark Brent hit its lowest level since November 30, $50.95/barrel. US crude sank to $47.99.
Gold prices inched up, reportedly as various looming European elections stoked haven demand. However, the possibility of higher US interest rates continues to drag.
The scheduled economic news sked is light for the rest of Monday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will grab top billing. He’s due to speak in Frankfurt.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX
DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.