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ASX, Kospi close in green; Shanghai bucks trend

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Asian markets closed mixed on Monday, following a rally on Wall Street last week as investors continue to look out for comments from central bankers on the trajectory of U.S. monetary policy.

Major U.S. indices ended last week with gains close to 3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 341 points, or 1.94 percent, higher at 17,824, the S&P 500 ended 36 points, or 1.75 percent, up at 2,089, while the Nasdaq was 121 points, or 2.65 percent, higher to finish at 4686.35.

The Japanese market remained closed for Labor Thanksgiving day.

Chinese market closes in negative territory

The Chinese market bucked the generally positive trend across rest of Asia to close in the red on Monday.

The Shanghai Composite closed 20 points, or 0.54 percent, lower at 3,611. The smaller Shenzhen composite was down 0.75 percent, the tech-heavy Chinext composite down 1.17 percent, and the blue-chip CSI 300 Index was lower by 0.56 percent.

Shares of Chinese banks and brokerages all closed lower after China's onshore yuan Monday fell to its lowest level against the dollar since August as offshore yuan continued to decline. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.3867 per dollar.

Chinese industrial stocks closed higher after Beijing approved a 80.51 billion yuan ($12.60 billion) high-speed rail project, according to reports. Shares of CRRC, China Communications Constructions, and China Railway Group finished among the top five gainers on the Shanghai Composite on Monday.

Airline shares were also down on the back of prolonged global security threats affecting travel. In Europe, Belgian capital Brussels remains in an extended period of lockdown as police hunt one of the perpetrators believed to be behind the Paris attacks, according to reports. In Asia, a Singapore Airlines flight from San Francisco was plagued with a bomb threat but has since landed safely in the city-state.

Shares of Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines all closed lower.

Chinese energy plays, Sinopec, PetroChina, and China Oilfield Services, also ended in the red as oil prices remain just above the $40 a barrel mark.

Away from the mainland, the Taiwanese Taiex closed 20 points, or 0.24 percent,higher despite a marginal increase in the country's October jobless rate. Data showed the October rate was 3.9 percent compared to the 3.89 percent reported in September.

In Hong Kong, the main Hang Seng Index continued its choppy session, eventually closing 0.39 percent lower.

The Hong Kong-traded arm of Chinese brokerage firm Guotai Junan Securities saw its shares close down over 12 percent, after reports emerged that its chairman Yim Fung was missing.

Real estate developer Evergrande Real Estate Group, on the other hand, saw its shares rise over 5 percent after announcing plans to enter the insurance market through a joint venture with Great Eastern Life.

Kospi closes higher

The Seoul Kospi maintained its positive streak throughout the trading day to end 14 points, or 0.7 percent, higher on Monday at 2,004.

Blue chips lost their momentum in the afternoon session, after opening in the green. Samsung Electronics closed 0.23 percent lower, steel manufacturer Posco ended 0.29 lower, Hyundai Motor down 0.63 percent, and SK Hynix dipped 1.13 percent in the red.

One exception was Samsung C&T shares, which jumped to close 7.45 percent higher after it was announced that the contractor clinched a deal to build a mass rapid transit (MRT) station and its tunnels in Singapore. Reuters reported the deal to be worth approximately $555 million.

Investors also kept an eye on the Lotte Group as the internal power struggle between its owners continue. Last week, the group lost one of its duty-free licenses to operate a store in Seoul to competitor Shinsegae.

The group is also expected to submit an application for a preliminary review for its initial public offering of Hotel Lotte to local securities and exchange operator Korea Exchange next month. Reports say the IPO is expected to be completed by the first half of 2016.

Shares of Lotte Shopping closed 3.15 percent higher, Lotte Chemical Corp was up 1.22 percent, while Lotte HiMart remained unchanged.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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ASX continues its winning run

The ASX 200 closed on three-week high, ending 20 points, or 0.39 percent, higher at 5,276.

Low iron ore prices and oil at sub-$45 a barrel continued to exert strain on resources and commodities producers, most of whom closed in the red. Spreadbetter IG's market strategist Evan Lucas said in a note Monday morning that "banks and defensive stock are going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting to see the ASX in the green this week."

Iron ore producers closed mixed on Monday. Fortescue Metals was up 4.31 percent while Atlas Iron was up 4.35 percent. But Mount Gibson, BC Iron, Rio Tinto remained in the red while South32 saw a sharp 5.06 percent decline. The metal producer had its price targets cut by UBS.

Gold producers also took major hits, with share prices down between 2 and 6.2 percent. Newcrest Mining shares dropped 2.21 percent, Evolution Mining was down 2.69 percent, Kingsgate lost 2.94 percent, while Alacer Gold, which saw the biggest loss in morning trade, trimmed some of its losses to trade 6.57 percent in the red. Gold prices were down 0.71 percent at $1,070 in Asian trade, languishing near six-year low.

Oil producers also closed mixed. Santos shares were down while Woodside Petroleum ended flat and Oil Search saw a 1.59 percent gain in the morning session.

Oil prices continued to remain under pressure on the back of a global supply surplus, with U.S. crude trading at $41.36 a barrel while the internationally traded Brent benchmark was down 38 cents, or 0.85 percent, to $44.28 a barrel.

Australian banks closed mostly in positive territory. The four biggest banks in the country, ANZ, Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth Bank of Australia all ended in the green with gains between 0.1 to 0.7 percent.