World Markets

Asian Shares Mixed In Thin Holiday Trade

(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks ended mixed in thin pre-Christmas trade on Monday as investors fretted about the impact of a partial U.S. government shutdown and increasing trade tensions, with White House trade advisor Peter Navarro saying the trade war between the U.S. and China would not come to an end in near-term.

The U.S. dollar slipped as political uncertainty weighed and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams told CNBC the U.S. central bank is open to reconsidering its views on rate hikes next year.

Oil prices inched higher in Asian trade after oil ministers from OPEC nations said they expect prices will arrest their recent slide and rebalance early next year.

The Japanese markets were closed for the Emperor's Birthday holiday. Chinese shares rose after the country's top policymakers signaled more support for the economy next year with tax cuts and other policy measures.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index inched up 10.76 points or 0.43 percent to 2,527.01 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 102.04 points or 0.40 percent at 25,651.38.

Australian stocks finished modestly higher as markets closed early for the Christmas holidays. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 26.20 points or 0.48 percent to 5,493.80 in thin trade while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 26.30 points or 0.48 percent to 5,559.60.

The big four banks ended up between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent. QBE Insurance advanced 1.4 percent and Insurance Australia climbed 1.2 percent after some insurers flagged the cost of claims from a hailstorm in Sydney.

Myob Group soared as much as 14.6 percent after the accounting software maker recommended a takeover offer from U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co.

Seoul stocks ended lower on worries over political instability in the United States amid signs that the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, will last at least a week. The benchmark Kospi slid 6.48 points or 0.31 percent to close at 2,055.01.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains after ending sharply lower on Friday. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed up 28.32 points or 0.33 percent at 8,714.51 after a 1 percent drop on Friday.

U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Friday to extend recent losses amid fears of a government shutdown and ongoing trade tensions.

On the data front, reports on durable goods orders, third quarter GDP, personal income and spending and consumer sentiment painted a mixed picture of the world's largest economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.8 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3 percent and the S&P 500 lost 2.1 percent to end at their lowest levels in over a year.

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