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Asian markets mixed with company news and results in focus

Monday 10:20 BST

What you need to know

  • Hong Kong stocks rise as China Unicom rallies
  • Australian and Japanese equities trend lower
  • Dollar and yen steady in Asia Pacific trading
  • Crude benchmarks hold on to Friday gains

Leading quote

Stock markets started the week with a mixed performance in Asia as corporate news drove trade, while oil prices held steady after rising last week due to short covering.

Hot topic

Following a disappointing end to last week for Wall Street, where the S&P 500 edged lower on Friday after a 1.5 per cent fall in the previous session, Asia-Pacific equities were reacting to developments in the region.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent with gains focused in telecoms, up 2.4 per cent. Most of that was due to a 7.9 per cent rise in China Unicom after the state-owned wireless telecom’s Shanghai-listed unit confirmed a $11.7bn private placement plan involving companies including Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu. Shares in that unit, China United Network Communications, were up by the daily limit of 10 per cent in Shanghai.

Australia’s BlueScope Steel fell 20.2 per cent after the company warned that growing import competition and higher energy costs would affect its performance in the current half. Vocus Group dropped 16.3 per cent after the Australian telecoms group said it had ended talks with Affinity Equity Partners and KKR about separate cash takeover bids of A$2.2bn ($1.67bn). The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.5 per cent.

In Tokyo the Topix was down 0.2 as financials dropped 0.8 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks slipped 0.3 per cent. Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing was down 1.1 per cent ahead of an employee vote to unionise scheduled for Tuesday.

Forex and fixed income

Currency moves were muted with the US dollar remaining stable at 93.432. The Japanese yen was likewise steady at ¥109.19 per dollar.

Government bonds in the region were edging down in Asia trade, pushing up yields, which move in the opposite direction to prices. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield was up 1 basis point at 0.029 per cent, while that on the equivalent Australian note rose by the same amount, to 2.625 per cent.

Ten-year US Treasuries were largely unchanged, however, with the yield hovering at 2.197 per cent.

Commodities

Crude oil prices were steady after a jump on Friday spurred by investors rushing to cover short positions.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was flat at $52.73 a barrel after rising 3.3 per cent on Friday. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was up 0.1 per cent at $48.54 after climbing 3 per cent the previous session.

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