Asian Stocks End Mixed, Most Bourses Down For 2018 Overall
Asian Stocks Talking Points:
- Stocks ended the session mixed
- Many bourses were closed anyway for New Year’s Eve so volumes were scant
- Chinese manufacturing sprung an unpleasant suprise
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Those Asia Pacific stock indexes that were open Monday put in a mixed performance overall, with many major bourses set to register declines for 2018 as a whole. Japan, mainland China and South Korea were all closed anyway, but the Hang Seng rose 1.3%, but is down a little over 13% for the year. Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.1% but is off by 7% from its end-2017 close.
The day’s main regional economic release showed a shock contraction in Chinese manufacturing output for December, and the first since mid-2016. The Purchasing Managers Index underlined a slow second half of 2018 for China’s economy, and will probably see pressure increasing for a durable US/China trade deal as the New Year gets under way.
AUD/USD slipped back a little on the number, but it drifted up again as the session progressed. However, on its daily chart the pair has returned to the downtrend channel which dominated trade for much of this year, and focus seems to remain on the year’s lows.
It was a quiet session in the foreign exchange markets overall however, given that so many desks were thinly staffed.
Gold prices loitered near their six-month highs as economic uncertainties and stock market volatility keep a solid floor under haven assets. Crude oil prices inched up but worries about slower growth and weaker global demand continue to weigh.
The economic data schedule is predictably light with only the Dallas Federal Reserve’s manufacturing snapshot left to die-hard stat fans before 2018 bows out.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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