Asian stocks were mostly lower with light trading on Monday as a Wall Street slump and a partial U.S. government shutdown stemmed holiday cheer.
Trade tensions were slightly improved after a Chinese media report of “new progress” last week in trade talks between the U.S. and China, and a separate report that Beijing is addressing U.S. concerns by working on a law to improve intellectual property rights and grant equal right to foreign investors.
The Shanghai Composite index
rose 0.1% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite
South Korea’s Kospi
dropped 0.2%, though samsung
and SK Hynix
rose slightly. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
lost 0.4%, with property companies such as New World Development
up 1% while tech companies such as AAC
Australia’s S&P ASX 200
added 0.4%. Stocks fell in Taiwan
. Markets in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines were closed.
The U.S. market ended its worst week in more than seven years on Friday, with major indexes plunging 7%. They’ve given up more than 12% in December. Sentiment was dampened by a range of factors, including expectations for slower U.S. growth and the country’s long-running trade dispute with China. The S&P 500 index
slipped 2.1% to 2,416.62 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 1.8% at 22,445.37. The Nasdaq composite
tumbled 3% to 6,332.99. All of the major indexes are 16 to 26 percent lower from their highs this summer and fall.
The U.S. federal government was partially shut down on Saturday after Democrats rejected President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion to erect a border wall with Mexico. They are offering to keep funding at $1.3 billion, which will be used for security instead. It is unclear how long the shutdown will last with the upcoming Christmas holidays. Almost every essential government agency remains open, but hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be forced off the job and some services will be shut.
“U.S. economic and policy uncertainty in the wake of the weekend headlines (Trump vs Powell) suggests risk will continue to struggle on Xmas eve,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda, in a note to clients early Monday. “But there’s an abundance of investor money parked on the sidelines and given the dire state of the U.S. equity markets; I wouldn’t be surprised to see the U.S. administration move more constructively to resolve trade war issues with China, which should go a long way to stabilizing risk and boost global equity market sentiment.”
Benchmark U.S. crude
added 46 cents to $46.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 0.6 percent to settle at $45.59 in New York on Friday. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, gained 54 cents to $54.36 a barrel. It lost 1 percent to $53.82 a barrel in London.
weakened to 111.07 yen from 111.22 yen in late trading Friday.
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