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Asian Stocks Mixed, Washington And Korea In Investors' Sights

Asian Stocks Mixed, Washington And Korea In Investors' Sights

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points

  • Asian stocks lacked direction as the week got under way
  • Worried glances at White House staffing started the session following Steve Bannon’s exit
  • The start of US military exercises in South Korea kept investors nervy

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Asian markets were mixed Monday, in a subdued start to the week, with investors watching political developments in Washington DC and military ones on the Korean peninsula.

Steve Bannon became the latest in a string of White House leavers at the end of last week when he vacated the role of chief strategist to President Donald Trump, only adding to market worries about the US executive structure. Closer to home a series of heavyweight joint military drills between the US and South Korea have begun. They are due to last for ten days.

In this rather jittery environment, and with the Jackson Hole economic symposium looming at week’s end, the Nikkei lost 0.4%, with Australia’s ASX and South Korea’s Kospi both lower as well. Chiense stocks bucked the trend with both Shanghai and Hong Kong posting small gains

Local economic numbers were second-tier and light on market impact. New Zealanders got their credit cards out in some force in July, but Japanese department-store sales erased their previous month’s gains. Japan’s all-industry activity index came in as expected for June, rising 0.4%. The US Dollar started the session on the back foot against the Japanese Yen but steadied a little as the session went on.

In the commodity space gold prices were little changed and close to eight-month highs. Meanwhile crude oil prices were steady too, but largely clinging to last Friday’s sizeable gains which came in turn on hopes for a tighter US markets.

--- 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.