Asian Markets Mostly Lower

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(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday despite the positive cues from Wall Street Friday as investors treaded cautiously amid worries about global economic growth and on Saudi Arabia's rising diplomatic tensions with the West following the disappearance as well as suspected murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Crude oil prices also rose in Asian trading.

The Australian market is notably lower with stocks lower across the board, despite the positive cues from Wall Street and a rebound in commodity prices. Lingering worries about U.S.-China trade tensions and global economic growth weighed on sentiment.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 66.20 points or 1.12 percent to 5,829.50, off a low of 5,828.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 64.10 points or 1.07 percent to 5,942.50. Australian stocks recovered from a weak start to finish modestly higher on Friday.

Among the big miners, Fortescue Metals is losing more than 2 percent, BHP is declining almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is lower by more than 1 percent despite rising copper and iron ore prices.

Atlas Iron has named Sanjiv Manchanda as chief executive, replacing Cliff Lawrenson, and also appointed Spiro Pappas as its chairman. Shares of Atlas Iron are unchanged.

Gold miners Evolution Mining is lower by more than 2 percent and Newcrest Mining is down more than 1 percent after gold prices declined 0.5 percent Friday.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac - are lower in a range of 1.4 percent to 1.9 percent.

Commonwealth Bank has made permanent the appointment of Alan Docherty, who has been acting chief financial officer since May, as the company's chief financial officer.

Oil stocks are also mostly weak despite higher crude oil prices. Santos is advancing more than 1 percent, Oil search is lower by 0.2 percent and Woodside Petroleum is edging down 0.1 percent.

Coles' comparable supermarket sales rose 5.1 percent in the first quarter, compared to a 0.3 percent increase in the year-ago period. Shares of Coles' parent company Wesfarmers are down 0.3 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7107, up from $0.7126 on Friday.

The Japanese market is declining as investors shrugged off the positive cues from Wall Street. Worries about trade tensions and rising interest rates, in addition to a stronger yen, weighed on sentiment.

Investors also digested news that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to formally announce later today that the government will raise the consumption tax to 10 percent from the current 8 percent in October 2019.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 315.54 points or 1.39 percent to 22,379.12, after touching a low of 22,274.94 in early trades. Japanese shares finished modestly higher on Friday.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger safe-haven yen. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are down almost 1 percent each. Sony is adding 0.2 percent.

Among auto makers, Honda is lower by 2 percent and Toyota is losing almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 2 percent.

SoftBank is falling more than 5 percent amid investors' worries about the company's strong ties to Saudi Arabia.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is adding almost 1 percent and Inpex is rising almost 2 percent after crude oil prices rose on Friday.

In the tech sector, Advantest is edging down 0.1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is rising 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Dai Nippon Printing, Dena Co. and Toho Co. are rising more than 1 percent each.

On the flip side, Toppan Printing is losing almost 5 percent, Takashimaya Co. is lower by 4 percent and Hitachi Construction Machinery is down almost 4 percent.

In economic news, Japan will release final August numbers for industrial production today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 112 yen-range on Monday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Shanghai are also lower, while New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed significantly higher on Friday, regaining some ground following a two-day sell-off. Bargain hunting and strong Chinese trade data that eased concerns over slowing global growth contributed to the rebound.

While the Nasdaq soared 167.83 points or 2.3 percent to 7,496.89, the Dow jumped 287.16 points or 1.2 percent to 25,339.99 and the S&P 500 surged up 38.76 points or 1.4 percent to 2,767.13.

The major European markets closed lower on Friday. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Friday, although overall gains remained modest on worries over rising inventories after the IEA, the IMF and OPEC all cut their forecasts of oil demand growth. WTI crude futures for November added $0.37 or 0.5 percent to close at $71.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In Asian trades Monday, crude oil prices are adding $0.80 or 1.12 percent to $72.14.

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This article appears in: World Markets , Banking and Loans , Economy , US Markets , Oil , Stocks

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