Asia Markets

Stocks in Asia close higher as oil prices rise; several markets closed

Key Points
  • Takata shares suspended from trade after the company decided to file for bankruptcy protection in Japan.
  • Oil prices made gains after hitting 10-month lows last week.
  • Markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and the Philippines are closed.

Markets in Asia closed higher on Monday, despite news that Takata had filed for bankruptcy, as oil prices gained more than 1 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up by 0.1 percent, or 20.68 points, to close at 20,153.35, and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.42 percent, or 10.06 points, to finish the session at 2,388.66.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 traded advanced 0.08 percent, or 4.325 points, to end at 5,720.2, buoyed by gains in its consumer staples and utilities sub-indexes.

Markets in greater China trended higher. Hong Kong's was up by 0.63 percent at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the rose 0.89 percent, or 28.1736 points, to close at 3,186.0466, and the Shenzhen Composite surged 1.36 percent, or 25.4577 points, to end at 1,896.7946.

Markets in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India and the Philippines were closed for the end of Ramadan.

CMC Markets Chief Market Strategist Michael McCarthy said in a Monday morning note that Asia markets were likely to have a calm start for the week.

"The start of the week sees only secondary data releases and scarce corporate news, meaning there is little to rock the market boat," McCarthy said.

Autoparts manufacturer Takata has filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the U.S. Faulty air bags produced by Takata have resulted in the largest-ever product recall in the auto industry, with at least 17 deaths linked to the scandal. Shares of the company have been suspended from trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and were set to be delisted on July 27.

Japan Inc. and the Takata saga

This latest development demonstrated how corporate governance in Japan has "fundamentally changed," Wisdomtree Head of Japan Jesper Koll told CNBC, pointing to how the Japanese government did not prevent Takata from filing from bankruptcy or attempt to bail the company out.

Japan automakers closed mixed following statements from Toyota and Nissan, among others, which said it could be difficult to recover recall costs from Takata. Toyota shares closed down by 0.38 percent, but Nissan shares were 0.19 percent higher.

Meanwhile, shares of Toshiba closed down by 3.12 percent following news the stock had been reassigned to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange from the first section.

But Citi analysts Kota Ezawa and Takero Fujiwara pointed in a note last week to some light on the horizon for the company. They said there was "some leeway" in Toshiba's negotiations with Western Digital over the sale of the Japanese company's memory chip unit. Toshiba had chosen a government-led consortium last week as the preferred bidder for its memory business.

"We get the impression that the sale of the memory business opens a path to the resolution of the excess debt problem ... While nothing can be taken for granted, ... we did detect a sense of progress," the note added.

Glencore isn't giving up on Rio Tinto just yet

Glencore on Friday raised its offer to buy Rio Tinto's Australian coal assets. The latter earlier said it had selected a bid from Yancoal, a Chinese-owned company. Rio Tinto's Australia-listed shares finished the session higher by 1.26 percent at 59.570 Australian dollars each.

Fitch Ratings downgraded commodity trader Noble Group's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to "CCC" from "B-." Shares of the company are listed on Singapore's stock exchange, which is closed today.

In energy news, oil prices climbed on the back of the weaker dollar, although U.S. crude continued to trade below the $45 mark. Brent crude rose 1.25 percent to trade at $46.11 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate advanced 1.21 percent to trade at $43.53.

Why this strategist thinks the dollar will get support

The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, was firmer at 97.295 at 2.50 p.m. HK/SIN although it remained below levels around the 97.5 handle seen last week. Against the yen, the greenback trended higher to fetch 111.38 yen, compared with around 111.2 last week.

The Australian dollar gained against the dollar, fetching $0.7578, compared with levels around $0.7563 seen earlier.

On the economic calendar for Monday, Hong Kong trade data for the month of May is expected at 4:30 p.m. HK/SIN.

Stateside, equities closed mostly higher on Friday. The closed 0.01 percent, or 2.53 points, lower at 21,394.76. But the S&P 500 added 0.16 percent, or 3.8 points, to close at 2,483.3 and the rose 0.46 percent, or 28.57 points, to 6,265.25.