Asian markets post mixed performance ahead of Christmas holiday

Asian markets were mixed on Monday after last week’s market turmoil stateside.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.31 percent to close at 2,055.01, despite industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix gaining 0.39 percent and 0.67 percent, respectively.

Australia’s ASX 200, which closed at 11:10 a.m. HK/SIN ahead of the upcoming Christmas holiday, finished the trading day higher by 0.48 percent at 5,493.8, with almost all sectors seeing gains.

The heavily weighted financial subindex saw gains of 0.43 percent, as shares of Australia’s so-called Big Four banks rose. Commonwealth Bank of Australia advanced 0.25 percent, Westpac gained 0.13 percent, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group climbed up by 0.26 percent while National Australia Bank rose 0.31 percent.

The Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

Sino-US trade discussions

The Chinese markets, closely watched worldwide amid Beijing’s trade spat with Washington, were higher on the day. The Shanghai composite recovered from earlier losses to finish around 0.43 percent higher at 2,527.01 while the Shenzhen composite rose 0.860 percent to close at about 1,295.72.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which closed at 12 p.m. HK/SIN today ahead of the upcoming Christmas holiday, fell 0.4 percent to 25,651.38 as shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent shed 1.46 percent.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Sunday that vice-ministerial level talks on issues such as the balance of trade and strengthening of intellectual property protections had been held earlier with the U.S. last week.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said the two sides had a “deep exchange” of views and achieved new progress. It also said both parties held discussions around their next call and the reciprocal visits.

Dow attempts to rebound

In market action stateside, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped in early trade on Sunday evening but then recovered to see gains of 132 points, implying an opening gain of 102.63 points for the Dow, as of 2:14 a.m. ET. Monday. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to opening gains for the two indexes.

The moves came on the back of a tumultuous week which saw the Dow experiencing its worst week in more than a decade.

The Dow lost 1,655 points, or 6.8 percent, last week for its worst week since October 2008 during the financial crisis. The S&P 500 lost 7 percent for the week and is now down 17.8 percent from its record reached earlier in the year, putting it on the brink of a bear market. The Nasdaq Composite Index is now 22 percent below its record reached in August, a bear market.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for a fourth time this year and Chairman Jerome Powell signaled the central bank would continue to unwind its balance sheet at the current pace, two monetary tightening actions that traders say are driving the stock market declines.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.801 after seeing highs above 97.4 last week.

The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe haven currency, traded at 111.05 after touching lows around 113.5 in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7061 after seeing highs around $0.720 last week.

Source: CNBC