Global shares were mixed in Asia on Monday, with Chinese benchmarks leading declines in Asia. The air strikes on Syria appeared to be having scant impact on trading, and oil prices fell back. Eyes were on Chinese GDP data due on Tuesday.
KEEPING SCORE: The FTSE 100 in Britain dropped 0.4 percent to 7,236.05 while Germany’s DAX added 0.2 percent to 12,464.26. The CAC 40 in France was flat at 5,316.11. The future for the S&P 500 climbed 0.6 percent while the future for the Dow Jones industrial average was also up 0.6 percent, pointing to early gains on Wall Street.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3 percent to 21,835.53, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.6 percent to 30,315.59 and the Shanghai Composite index sank 1.5 percent to 3,110.65. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent higher to 2,457.49 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.2 percent to 5,841.30. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore and rose in Indonesia.
MIDDLE EAST: The leaders of Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon said Sunday that Western airstrikes on their ally Syria, targeting its chemical weapons program, have complicated prospects for a political settlement to the country’s seven-year conflict. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” to describe the U.S.-led missile attack, while his aides stressed continuing U.S. troop involvement and plans for new economic sanctions against Russia for enabling the government of Bashar Assad.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The markets are taking the surgical strike at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapon program in stride as traders had priced in this outcome with a high degree of probability,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. He added, “With trade war and now Syria fatigue likely to set in, however, it’s best not to get too comfortable at this point as market risk sentiment swings will remain large this week.”
CHINA TRADE: The Trump administration on Friday targeted China and five other countries including allies Japan and South Korea for special monitoring for what the administration says are practices that are worsening America’s trade deficit. But the impact on financial markets in Asia was limited as it comes at a time of even harsher threats of U.S. penalty tariffs on China and other nations.
CHINA ECONOMY: Chinese shares declined ahead of the release of economic growth data that are expected to show the economy overshooting the official target to sustain a 6.8 percent annual pace in the first quarter of the year. Good news could lead regulators to tighten monetary policy, hurting share prices. Tuesday’s report of monthly figures for March, the first since the lunar new year holidays, will provide fresh insights into conditions across the world’s No. 2 economy.
ENERGY: Oil prices fell back from spikes last week on fears over an escalation of strife in the Middle East, with U.S. benchmark crude falling 91 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $66.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 32 cents on Friday to $67.39. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell $1.02, or 1.4 percent, to $71.56 per barrel.
CURRENCY: The dollar was trading at 107.21 yen, down from 107.36 yen late Friday. The euro edged higher, to $1.2366 from $1.2333.