Asia Markets

Most Asian markets advance after Wall Street's Friday rebound; oil prices rise

Key Points
  • Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday after U.S. stock indexes rebounded in the last session.
  • Heavy declines were seen in Asian markets last week, with the Nikkei 225 down 11.4 percent from its 52-week high below its 52-week high as of Friday.
  • Oil prices rose after declining for the sixth straight session in the previous session.
  • The dollar was softer against a basket of currencies, paring some of the gains made last week.

Asian markets closed mostly higher on Monday while oil prices rose around 1 percent after recording six straight days of declines.

South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.91 percent to close at 2,385.38, with heavily weighted technology stocks higher on the day. Samsung Electronics rebounded 2.28 percent and SK Hynix gained 1.5 percent by the end of the day. Financials also traded higher on Monday.

Shipbuilders were in negative territory, with Samsung Heavy closing down 3.51 percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries slipped 0.38 percent after it reported a miss on fourth-quarter earnings on Friday after the market close.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to close at 5,820.70 as earnings season continued Down Under. Energy-related stocks were down 0.43 percent despite oil prices rebounding after sliding for six straight sessions. Santos declined 0.41 percent and Beach Energy lost 2.48 percent by the end of the day.

Gold producers were also weak: Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining finished the session down 0.54 percent and 2.15 percent, respectively. The heavily weighted financials sub-index was off by 0.52 percent as an inquiry into the sector began on Monday.

Australian retailers were in the red, with Myer underperforming its peers in the sector and trading down 5.98 percent by the end of the session. JB Hi-Fi, which reported record half-year earnings on Monday, saw its shares plunge 8 percent on concerns over profit growth. The company said it expected net profit to grow between 13.1 percent and 15.5 percent.

Greater China markets traded in positive territory in what will be a holiday-shortened trading week after taking a beating last week. Hong Kong's advanced 0.52 percent by 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN. Financial stocks were mixed in the afternoon, with HSBC lower by 0.19 percent and China Construction Bank rising 0.91 percent ahead of the market close. Insurer AIA jumped 1.94 percent, contributing 42 points to Hang Seng's gains ahead of the close.

Casino stocks were mostly positive territory, while energy-related names and telecommunications stocks traded lower. Index heavyweight Tencent jumped 2.85 percent before the market close.

On the mainland, the tacked on 0.76 percent to close at 3,153.56 and the Shenzhen composite surged 2.65 percent to end at 1,723.73. The start-up board Chinext index bounced 3.02 percent. The real estate and consumer staples sectors saw gains of more than 2 percent on the day.

Despite the broader move higher, large cap financials listed on the mainland finished the session lower: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China closed down 1.2 percent and Bank of China fell 1.86 percent by the end of the day.

Insurers were mixed on the day, with Ping An Insurance Group rising 0.79 percent, but China Life Insurance closing lower by nearly 2 percent. China's insurance regulator on Monday announced in an online notice that insurance companies had to cap their outstanding offshore financing, Reuters reported.

Japanese markets were closed in observance of a public holiday. Ahead, Hong Kong markets will close between Feb. 16 and Feb. 19 and mainland markets will close between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21 for the Lunar New Year holiday.

In individual stocks, Singapore Exchange fell 6.97 percent by 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN after India's three stock exchanges said last week they would stop licensing their indices and market data with foreign exchanges. The SGX said in a Monday statement it would work with National Stock Exchange of India to develop solutions.

Heavy declines were seen in Asian markets last week: Japan's closed lower by 2.32 percent in the previous session and was down 11.38 percent from its 52-week high as of Friday. Greater China markets were some of the worst performers last week, with Hong Kong's 11.88 percent below its 52-week high as of Friday.

Those losses mirrored declines seen stateside on investor concerns over rising interest rates. The global rout in stock markets began earlier this month when the Dow lost 666 points after a stronger-than-expected jobs report saw U.S. bond yields rise.

Markets stateside closed higher in the last session although last week was their worst in two years. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 330.44 points, or 1.38 percent, to finish the day at 24,190.90.

Despite those gains, the Dow still finished the week lower by 5.2 percent.

"The severity of the falls globally ... suggest we may have already seen the worst, but with bond yields likely to go back up further and uncertainty about how much the unwinding of short volatility positions has to go, further weakness cannot be ruled out in the short term," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at chief economist of AMP Capital, said in a Friday note.

Still, in the absence of a recession, "the pullback is just another correction," Oliver added.

Rob Carnell, chief economist and Asia Pacific head of research at ING, said in a Monday note that what was happening in stock and bond markets "will be delivering pain to some," but would not be a meltdown.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock index futures implied a positive open ahead of the U.S. market open on Monday.

On the commodities front, oil prices rebounded after sinking on Friday for a sixth straight day. Those declines came on the back of rising production and the firmer dollar last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 1.18 percent to trade at $59.90 per barrel after falling below the $59 level on Friday for the first time this year. Brent crude futures edged higher by 1 percent to trade at $63.42.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of rivals, edged down to trade at 90.151, below last Friday's close of 90.346. Against the yen, the dollar was softer at 108.65 at 2:58 p.m. HK/SIN.

The Australian dollar was a touch firmer at $0.7828.