Asian Markets Mostly Lower

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday and the dollar extended losses after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and also accused the European Union as well as China of manipulating their currencies.

Worries about trade wars also weighed on investor sentiment. The G20 finance ministers issued a warning on Sunday that “heightened trade and geopolitical tensions” posed an increased risk to global growth.

The Australian market is declining following the weak cues from Wall Street Friday and on worries about trade wars. Mining, bank and oil stocks are lower.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 55.20 points or 0.88 percent to 6,230.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index is down 53.40 points or 0.84 percent to 6,324.00. Australian shares closed modestly higher on Friday.

The major miners are weak. BHP Billiton is losing 1 percent, Rio Tinto is declining almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is down 0.6 percent.

The big four banks – ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac – are lower in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

Oil stocks are also mostly weak. Santos is declining 0.5 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down 0.2 percent, while Oil Search is rising 0.2 percent.

Bucking the trend, gold miners are higher after gold prices rose on Friday. Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is up 0.3 percent.

Nufarm forecast a sharp fall in full-year earnings, saying that extended dry conditions due to a lack of autumn rain across Australia resulted in a poor winter growing season. The agricultural chemicals supplier’s shares are falling more than 8 percent.

Wesfarmers said it expects the de-merger of Coles to be completed by November and plans to retain 15 percent of the supermarkets business. Shares of Wesfarmers are lower by more than 1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at US$0.7422, up from US$0.7371 on Friday.

The Japanese market is notably lower following the negative lead from Wall Street and as the yen strengthened amid speculation that the Bank of Japan is actively discussing changes to its stimulus policy. Gains by banks were more than offset by weakness in exporters’ shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 292.14 points or 1.29 percent to 22,405.74, off a low of 22,383.16 earlier. Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower on Friday.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent, Sony is declining 0.6 percent, Canon is lower by 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.2 percent.

In the auto sector, Honda and Toyota are lower by almost 1 percent each. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising more than 4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining more than 3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding 0.2 percent and Japan Petroleum is rising 0.4 percent after crude oil prices edged up Friday.

Among the market’s best performers, Chiba Bank is rising more than 6 percent and Resona Holdings is gaining 6 percent. Fukuoka Financial and Dai-ichi Life are rising almost 6 percent each.

On the flip side, Fast Retailing is losing almost 5 percent, Advantest is lower by almost 4 percent and TDK Corp. is down more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 110 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia and Hong Kong are all lower, while Shanghai, Indonesia and Taiwan are higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower on Friday after President Donald Trump continued to urge the Federal Reserve to refrain from raising interest rates. Trump suggested the Fed’s plan to gradually raise rates could hurt recent economic progress, claiming the rate hikes penalize the U.S. for doing well.

The Dow edged down 6.38 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 25,058.12, the Nasdaq slipped 5.10 points or 0.1 percent to 7,820.20 and the S&P 500 dipped 2.66 points or 0.1 percent to 2,801.83.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Friday. The German DAX Index slumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dropped by 0.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Friday, extending gains to a fourth successive session. Crude oil futures for September edged up $0.02 to $68.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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