Asia report: Most markets higher amid hope for oil deal

By Josh White

Date: Monday 06 Apr 2020

Asia report: Most markets higher amid hope for oil deal

(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia finished mostly higher on Monday, with stocks in Japan surging, as investors prepared to hold their breath for longer after a meeting of the OPEC nations and allies was delayed.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 4.24% at 18,576.30, as the yen weakened 0.62% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 109.22.

Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was up 2.01%, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing rising 2.24%, and technology giant SoftBank Group surging 7.61%.

The broader Topix index was ahead 3.86% by the end of trading in Tokyo, finishing its session at 1,376.30.

On the mainland, markets were closed for a public holiday, having finished Friday's session in negative territory.

South Korea's Kospi was 3.85% firmer at 1,791.88, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was up 2.21% at 23,749.12.

The blue-chip technology stocks were higher in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 3.62%, and chipmaker SK Hynix 4.4% higher.

The ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic remained firmly at the fore of market watchers' minds, as total confirmed infections reached more than 1.2 million globally, with fatalities now nearing 70,000.

While the pandemic was still spreading, there was emerging evidence that its rate of infection was slowing down in places that took earlier decisions to lock down, such as Italy and Spain.

"As we head into a new week markets appear to be taking encouragement from the fact that death rates appear to be plateauing across Europe, with Spain, Italy, France and UK all seeing declines in their Sunday numbers," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"There was also optimism in New York after the death rate also fell, though it's way too early to draw any conclusions at this early stage for the US, as infections there continue to rise sharply.

"Italy reported its lowest death rate for over two weeks yesterday, and while the number is still tragically high, at least it is heading in the right direction."

The crude market was also on the agenda, as the chief executive officer of Russian sovereign wealth fund RDF said that officials in Moscow and Saudi Arabia were "very close" to a deal amid the current price war.

That helped prices to claw back some of their earlier losses, which came after a scheduled meeting between members of the OPEC oil producing cartel and its allies was delayed.

Prices for the thick black stuff tumbled to unprecedentedly low levels in March, after OPEC's meeting with allies for the month resulted in Russia rejecting a proposed output cut from Saudi Arabia, leading to a price war which exacerbated the effects of already low demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Oil prices were back in the red as the region went to bed, however, with Brent crude last down 3.77% at $32.87 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate off 3.66% at $27.34.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 4.33% by end-of-play, closing Sydney's session at 5,286.80.

The sunburnt country's major banks were well into the green, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group up 4.75%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia ahead 3.93%, National Australia Bank rising 5.44%, and Westpac Banking Corporation 5.42% firmer.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was the region's odd one out, falling 1.72% to settle at 9,763.82.

Shares in airport operator AIAL were halted during the session to allow for a placement of NZD 1bn with institutional investors, as the country's largest international airport in Auckland struggled through a virtual collapse in flights and passenger numbers amid the pandemic.

Both of the down under dollars were sharply stronger against the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 1.04% at AUD 1.6499, and the Kiwi advancing 0.93% to NZD 1.6879.


Email this article to a friend

or share it with one of these popular networks:

Top of Page