Asian Markets Lower As Investors Digest China Data

Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Monday despite the positive cues from Wall Street and European markets on Friday, with investors turning cautious as they digested a raft of mixed economic data from China. The Japanese market is closed for a holiday.

While China’s GDP growth in the second quarter and fixed asset investment in June matched forecasts, June retail sales beat expectations and industrial production for the month missed estimates.

The Australian market is declining in cautious trades ahead of quarterly production results from mining and energy companies later this week. Investors are also digesting a raft of economic data from China, Australia’s largest trading partner.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 14.40 points or 0.23 percent to 6,254.00, off a low of 6,249.30. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 10.00 points or 0.16 percent to 6,341.90.

The major miners are mostly weak amid lower copper prices. BHP Billiton is declining 0.5 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by 0.6 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding 0.2 percent.

Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn said the company remains on track for record financial results in 2017-18 as thermal coal prices hovered at seven-year highs. The company’s shares are rising 2 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices fell to a seven-month low. Evolution Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is down 1 percent.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.6 percent to 1 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are mostly higher after crude oil prices rose 1 percent on Friday. Oil Search is adding 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is up 0.4 percent, while Santos is lower by 0.8 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$0.7403 on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also in negative territory. The Japanese market is closed in observance of Marine Day.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Friday in choppy trading as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves on the heels of the considerable volatility seen over the past few sessions. Traders were also digesting mixed quarterly earnings results from financial giants JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

The Dow rose 94.52 points or 0.4 percent to 25,019.41, the Nasdaq inched up 2.06 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 7,825.98 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.02 points or 0.1 percent to 2,801.31.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Friday, trimming the week’s significant losses. WTI crude added $0.68 or 1 percent to $71.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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