Shares up, oil down as Syria fallout seen limited

Marco Green
April 18, 2018

The dollar pulled back along with safe-haven US Treasuries as investor risk appetite improved in the broader markets.

Also weighing on the region was data showing March industrial output in China missed expectations and first-quarter fixed-asset investment growth slowed.

"The more timely March data, however, point to nascent signs of a growth slowdown underway, led by these old economy sectors", Subbaraman said.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi edged up by 0.17 percent, with large cap technology stocks contributing to the index's overall advance. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.9 percent to 1,563.03.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 erased initial gains to be virtually unchanged, up less than 0.1 per cent at 21,837.39 in morning trading. Australian stocks gained 0.3pc with mining shares gaining on higher aluminium prices.

GEOPOLITICAL FACTOR: Investors have begun putting aside concerns over Friday night's missile attack by the U.S., Britain and France on Syria's chemical weapons program.

The move suggested Wall Street was set to shrug off the attack and Russian President Vladimir Putin's warning on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.

"That said, the underlying picture has not changed".

Looking ahead, the USA earnings season kicks into high gear this week with Thomson Reuters data predicting profits at S&P 500 companies increased by 18.6 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, their biggest rise in seven years.

The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against six major peers, stood at 89.804. The euro edged down to $1.2378 from $1.2380.

Against the yen, the dollar was a touch firmer at 107.47 at 8:02 a.m. HK/SIN. The pound touched a near three-month high of $1.4346 and in reach of a post-Brexit referendum high with focus on data that could cement expectations of a May interest rate increase by the Bank of England.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) stepped into the currency market again on Tuesday, buying HK$5.77 billion ($735 million) in Hong Kong dollars as the local currency repeatedly hit the lower end of its allowable trading band.

Safe-haven assets eased in response, with yields on USA 10-year Treasury debt US10YT=RR up two basis points at 2.84 percent. Brent crude, which is used to price global oils, rose 27 cents to $71.69 per barrel.

Aluminium hovered near seven-year highs reached the previous day after United States sanctions on Russian producer Rusal stirred supply concerns.

USA crude fell 0.32 percent to $66.01 per barrel and Brent was last at $71.20, down 0.31 percent on the day.

Aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was at $2,386 per tonne after surging 5pc to $2,403 on Monday, its highest since September 2011.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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