Asian shares were for the most part in retreat again on Monday, weighed down by inflation pressures and fears of recession continuing to dominate the markets’ mood.
Japan was an outlier as traders found some relief as chip-related stocks rallied and energy shares tracked gains in crude oil prices.
The Nikkei extended gains in the final hour of trading to finish 1.07% higher at 26,215.79, after falling as much as 1.22% earlier in the day. The broader Topix advanced 0.63% to 1,847.58, rebounding from losses as steep as 1.12%.
Both indexes, though, posted their worst month in September since the Covid-19 pandemic first rocked markets two-and-a-half years ago.
The yen briefly weakened beyond 145 per dollar for the first time since Japanese authorities intervened on September 22 to support the currency.
Energy was the Nikkei’s best-performing sector, climbing 2.6% as crude prices rallied amid talk of OPEC+ production cuts this week.
The Nikkei’s biggest gainer by index points was chipmaking-equipment maker Tokyo Electron, which added 57 points with a 4.59% advance.
Outside Japan, stocks fell around Asia. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan was down 1.04%, on course for its fourth straight session of losses. It fell nearly 14% over the past quarter.
Hong Kong shares tracked broader Asia markets lower, with investors staying away amid a week-long holiday in China while waiting for hints on a clearer economic direction.
The Hang Seng index was down 143.32 points, or 0.83%, at 17,079.51, the lowest close since April 2009. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.97%.
Hong Kong Property Lift
Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese property developers jumped on expectation of further measures by local governments to shore up their markets in the fourth quarter.
The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Country Garden Holdings, which jumped 8.79%
The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.3%, while the IT sector dipped 1.14%, the financial sector ended 1.57% lower and the property sector rose 1.75%.
Elsewhere across the region, traders were avoiding risks in a holiday-heavy week with Philippine stocks trading about 0.3% lower at around a two-year low.
Other stock markets such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand slipped between 0.4% and 1.3%. In Australia, where some states are observing a public holiday, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.27%.
Indian stocks dropped with Mumbai’s signature Nifty 50 index down 1.24%, or 212.75 points, at 16,881.60.
Oil Jumps on Output Hopes
Globally, oil jumped as OPEC+ considered reducing output at its meeting later this week while the pound swung higher after the UK government said it would reverse a controversial tax cut that had roiled British markets.
US crude futures rose 2.70% to $81.64 a barrel after OPEC+ sources said oil production could be cut by between 500,000 and one million barrels a day. Brent crude rose 2.55% to $87.31 per barrel.
Investor focus will later swing to the September US ISM manufacturing index, a key monthly indicator of US economic activity.
“ISM manufacturing is unlikely to dent the optimism around the US economy that has been building up further with positive economic indicators released over the last few weeks,” Saxo Bank market strategist Redmond Wong wrote in a research note.
The Reserve Bank of Australia meets on Tuesday, with markets widely expecting another 50 basis point rate hike while Japan’s consumer price index is likely to show another pick up in inflation.
Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 1.07% at 26,215.79 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index < DOWN 0.83% at 17,079.51 (close)
Shanghai – Composite <> CLOSED
London – FTSE 100 < DOWN 1.09% at 6,818.74 (1020 BST)
New York – Dow < DOWN 1.71% at 28,725.51 (Friday close)
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara