Asian Shares Drift Lower In Thin Holiday Trade

Asian stocks retreated on Monday as inflation and interest-rate worries lingered, and oil prices spiked on speculation over OPEC+ cutting production substantially this week.

Oil prices jumped more than 3 percent ahead of the Oct. 5 OPEC+ meeting, while the dollar/yen rate held steady below the 145-level following an intervention by Japan to shore up the fragile currency.

Trading volumes were thin as Chinese markets kicked off the Golden Week holiday. South Korean markets were also shut.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended 0.83 percent lower at 17,0879.51, after having hit a low of 16,096.96 earlier in the day on fears of tightening U.S. monetary policy.

Japanese stocks bucked the weak trend, with chip-related firms and energy companies leading the surge. Sentiment was buoyed by the Bank of Japan’s “tankan” survey results showing that corporate capital expenditure plans for the current fiscal year remains strong.

The Nikkei average climbed 1.07 percent to 26,215.79, while the broader Topix index closed 0.63 percent higher at 1,847.58, reversing initial losses.

Japan Petroleum gained 2.9 percent and Inpex Corp added 3 percent as oil prices rallied amid talk of OPEC+ production cuts. In the tech sector, Screen Holdings, Tokyo Electron and Advantest surged 4-5 percent.

Mimasu Semiconductor Industry soared 12.5 percent after a strong forecast for earnings this fiscal year.

Australian markets ended slightly lower ahead of a widely expected interest rate hike by the Reserve Bank on Tuesday, with economists expecting the central bank to raise rates by 50 basis points to 2.85 percent — a level not seen since April 2013 to stem inflation which is trending at 20-year highs.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.27 percent to 6,456.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 0.33 percent to close at 6,656.40. Tech stocks led losses, with WiseTech Global, Appen and Zip Co falling 1-4 percent.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index fell 0.96 percent to 10,959.45.

U.S. stocks fell in choppy trading on Friday to notch their longest streak of quarterly losses since the market collapse of 2008, as sportswear maker Nike warned of a margin squeeze and new data closely watched by the Federal Reserve showed that prices continued to rise at a rapid pace in August.

In remarks prepared for a speech in New York, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard warned that the risk of additional inflationary shocks cannot be ruled out and that monetary policy will need to be restrictive for some time.

The Dow lost 1.7 percent while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite both shed around 1.5 percent.

Source: Read Full Article