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Asia markets subdued after US retail sales disappoint

Monday 02:45 BST

Overview

Stock markets around Asia were subdued after a weak batch of US data resulted in Wall Street closing lower on Friday.

Hot topic

US markets went into retreat on Friday after inflation and retail sales disappointed, prompting traders to trim bets the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in June.

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was flat in Asia at 99.222 after dropping 0.4 per cent on Friday when the data were released. The yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury was down 1.8 basis points at 2.324 per cent.

The S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent weaker on Friday, having finished at a record high on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite edged 0.1 per cent higher, but remains 0.1 per cent below its May 10 record.

Equities

Japan’s Topix was down 0.2 per cent, with energy stocks and miners proving a drag.

Energy stocks were also weak in Australia, although these were offset by gains for financials, leaving the S&P/ASX 200 flat. Fairfax Media was the best performer, up as much as 8.4 per cent after private equity firm TPG submitted a revised $2bn bid for the entire company.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent at a 22-month high. AAC Technologies, an Apple supplier that came under fire last week in a short-selling report, was down 6.7 per cent and was the worst performer in the index.

South Korea’s Kospi Composite was up 0.4 per cent and trading a touch short of last week’s record territory, while Taiwan’s Taiex was up 0.2 per cent and eyeing a new post-dotcom era high.

Forex

The Australian dollar continued its recovery from last week’s four-month low, climbing 0.2 per cent to $0.7403 and on pace for a fourth straight day of gains.

Other major currencies were more subdued. The Japanese yen was flat in Asia at ¥113.36 per dollar, while the UK pound was unchanged at $1.2888 and the euro at $1.0928.

Commodities

Oil was on track for its first four-day winning streak in a month, buoyed by a report last Wednesday that showed US weekly crude inventories fell by more than expected. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was 0.1 per cent higher at $50.87 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate gained 0.1 per cent to $47.88.

Gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,230.02 an ounce, benefiting from weakness in the US dollar.

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