Asia trades mostly higher following turbulent morning

Big 5

Asia traded mostly higher Wednesday afternoon, following a turbulent morning session where stocks seesawed between gains and losses.

Greater China markets recovered, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gaining 0.86 percent. The Shanghai composite advanced by 1.53 percent while the Shenzhen composite saw gains of 0.801 percent.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 recovered from earlier losses to see gains of 0.51 percent. The Topix was up by 0.26 percent after previously touching lows not seen since Sep. 2017.

Shares of automaker Subaru fell 6.06 percent after the company slashed its operating income estimate for the first half of the fiscal year ending Mar. 31, 2019.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi traded near flat. Major heavyweights like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix declined. Samsung shares fell 1.39 percent while SK Hynix declined 2.75 percent after dropping more than 4 percent earlier. Shares of steelmaker Posco rose 1.15 percent after posting its highest quarterly profit since 2011 on the back of higher steel prices.

The ASX 200 struggled for gains, trading down 0.27 percent as the heavily-weighted financial sector rose 0.15 percent. The energy subindex was down 2.16 percent as oil stocks sold off.

Shares of Santos traded down 2.53 percent, Oil Search declined 2.09 percent and Woodside Petroleum was lower by 1.48 percent.

Oil prices recovered in afternoon trade during Asian hours, following sharp declines overnight. Global benchmark Brent gained 0.42 percent to $76.76 while the U.S. crude futures contract was higher by 0.24 percent at $66.59 per barrel.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it would continue to meet demand for crude despite the looming U.S. sanctions that are expected to reduce oil exports from Iran, according to Reuters.

Energy names in Japan also fell, with Inpex shares down 3.41 percent and Japan Petroleum off by 2.27 percent.

Tariffs creep into US earnings

U.S. stocks finished lower overnight following a wild day on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at one point 500 points lower, but closed the session down by 125.98 points at 25,191.43 while the S&P 500 stood 0.55 percent lower at 2,740.69 at the final bell. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4 percent to finish at 7,437.54.

The losses stateside came on the back of Caterpillar reporting that higher steel prices and tariffs resulted in increased material costs for the company.

The U.S. and China have implemented tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods this year, increasing costs for companies and raising fears that tighter global trade conditions could slow down the global economy.

Negotiations between the two countries have stalled recently, though National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that the presidents of the two economic powerhouses will “meet for a bit” at next month’s G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 95.945 in the afternoon, after seeing a high above 96.15 in the previous session.

The Japanese yen was at 112.59 against the greenback after strengthening from the 112.7 handle yesterday while the Australian dollar was at $0.7103 after seeing lows around 0.706 in the prior session.

Source: CNBC