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Asian shares trade mixed, Shanghai down 2.8%, Nikkei up 0.7%, ASX up 0.5%

Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday, as oil prices rallied on supply outages in Canada and amid surprise over the exit of Saudi Arabia's veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi.

Investors were also digesting China's weaker trade figures released Sunday, and mulling Federal Reserve interest rate expectations after U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday showed a slide in the headline job number to 160,000.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.54 percent, or 28.65 points to 5,320.7, after wavering between gains and losses earlier in the session. The ASX 200's materials sub-index was down 0.56 percent, but energy and financials sub-indexes were up 1.18 percent and 0.63 percent effectively.

Mainland China markets fell in Asian trade; the Shanghai composite closed down 2.76 percent, or 80.339 points at 2,832.91, while the Shenzhen composite ended the session lower by 3.59 percent, or 67.265 points to 1,804.34. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 0.23 percent, or 46.94 points, at 20,156.81.

Japan's Nikkei 225 finished the session higher by 0.68 percent, or 109.31 points, at 16,216.03. The dollar/yen pair was trading up 0.37 percent at 107.52. A weaker yen is generally better for Japanese manufacturers, because it makes their products cheaper for overseas buyers.

The Bank of Japan minutes released on Monday had shown that policymakers agreed that the economy was recovering, but some policymakers warned of weaker consumer sentiment, and cast doubts over the effectiveness of negative interest rates, Reuters reported.

Across the Korean Strait, South Korea's Kospi index closed down 0.45 percent, or 8.9 points at 1,967.81, was down 0.53 percent on its first day of trade after being shut on Thursday and Friday for public holidays.

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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Oil prices surged more than 2 percent at the start of Asia's Monday session, as wildfires in Canada shut half of the country's vast oil sands output over the weekend, Reuters reported.

Also, Saudi Arabia replaced its long-time oil minister Ali al-Naimi withKhalid al-Falih, the chairman of Saudi Aramco, in a move analysts said signaled a new era for crude markets and appeared to be a reaffirmation of Saudi policy to let oil set its own price.

At 12:45 p.m. HK/SIN U.S. crude futures were up 1.81 percent to $45.47 a barrel, after opening at $45, while Brent rose 1.34 percent to $45.98, after opening at $45.75.

Australian oil producers were all in the green, with Santos up 1.7 percent, Oil Search 1.18 percent higher and Origin Energy gaining 2.36 percent, while Hong Kong-listed shares of Petrochina were down 0.19 percent and mainland-listed shares of China Oilfield fell 2.61 percent.

Shares of major resource producers were struggling; Rio Tinto lost 2.12 percent, while BHP Billiton was lower by 0.27 percent. Fortescue Metals dropped 2.25 percent. In China, Baoshan Steel fell 4.62 percent, Baotou Steel fell 5.69 percent and Aluminium Corp of China was down 4.41 percent.

On the currency front, the Australian dollar was mostly flat percent against the dollar, trading at $0.7367.

While the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, was near-flat in Asian trade at 93.860.

"A miss for U.S. jobs data on Friday is helping the street see an increased probability of the Fed sitting on its hands for a rate hike, and this is weighing on the USD," said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading, in a Monday note.

Stateside on Friday, the Nasdaq composite closed up 0.4 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.45 percent, while the S&P 500 ended higher by 0.32 percent.

While all three major indexes ended higher, the Dow and the S&P posted slight weekly declines, posting their first two-week losing streak since February 12.

On Monday the Philippines headed to the polls to elect a new president.

CORRECTION: The story has been updated to reflect that the dollar/yen pair was up 0.22 percent at 107.34.

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