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Asia Generally Lower Amid China Trade News

Apr 17, 2018 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) --

Asian markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday as investors digested the release of a raft of China data, including expectation-topping first-quarter Gross Domestic Product growth. The dollar also eased further while oil prices pared some overnight losses.

The Nikkei 225 Index gained 12.06 points, or 0.1%, to close Tuesday at 21,847.59, as the oil sector recorded gains amid declines seen in most other sectors.

The U.S.extended losses against the yen, trading at 106.92 late afternoon compared to levels above the 107.1 handle seen earlier in the session.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dumped 252.84 points, or 0.8%, to 30,062.75, with technology and consumer goods stocks among the worst-performing sectors before the market close. Property developers and financials also traded lower.

In Korea, automakers and steelmakers climbed, while index bellwether Samsung Electronics slipped 0.7%.

Down Under, markets were flat, with financials stocks slipping 0.3% and weighing on the broader index.

In individual movers, Hyundai Motor closed up 2.9%. The advance came amid media headlines that a unit of Elliott Management, which owns more than $1 billion in shares of Hyundai affiliates, was supportive of the automaker's reorganization plans.

CHINA

In China, the CSI 300 subtracted 60.22 points, or 1.6%, to 3,748.64.

China's economy grew 6.8% in the first quarter of 2018, beating an estimate of 6.7% on year growth projected

Apart from the steady growth figure, other data released Tuesday was mixed. March retail sales came in better than expected, while industrial output growth for the month and fixed asset investment in the first quarter missed estimates.

Trade tensions also continued to simmer, having taken a backseat in recent sessions.

The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed a denial of export privileges against China's ZTE, a telecommunications equipment company.

The ban stops U.S. companies from selling to ZTE for seven years, and comes after the Chinese firm failed to adhere to an agreement with the U.S. government after it illegally shipped equipment to Iran and North Korea, U.S. officials said.

ZTE shares in Hong Kong and Shenzhen were halted from trade on Tuesday, pending an announcement.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi dropped 3.72 points, or 0.2%, to 2,453.77

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index inched up 1.01 points to 3,498.20

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index slumped 144.1 points, or 1.3%, to 10,810.45

In New Zealand, the NZD 50 Index docked 61.83 points, or 0.7%, to 8,344.52

In Australia, the ASX 200 Index added 0.21 points to 5,841.55

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