Asian stocks drop, but oil comodity climbs
Asian stocks fell, led by Japanese shares after a two-day holiday, as the yen held gains versus the dollar and emerging-market currencies strengthened. The New Zealand dollar weakened, while nickel and crude oil climbed.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.8 percent by 10:01 a.m. in Tokyo, as Japan’s Topix index sank 1.8 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.1 percent after a selloff in Internet stocks sent the gauge down 0.9 percent in the U.S. The yen held yesterday’s 0.5 percent jump as the Korean won and Malaysian ringgit climbed. New Zealand’s dollar fell after the central bank detailed conditions for intervention. Nickel rose and gold advanced as oil in New Yorkadded 0.4 percent.
Services data for China is due today, with Hong Kong also resuming equities trading after a holiday yesterday. Twitter Inc. (TWTR) slid 18 percent in the U.S. as insider shares became eligible for sale, pushing an exchange-traded fund of social-media stocks to the lowest level since July. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. filed for what could be a record U.S. initial public offering after markets closed. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addresses Congress on the U.S. economy today.
“Investors need to remain cautious,” Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Perpetual Ltd., which manages about $29 billion, said in an e-mail. “They have decided to take some profits in the wake of recent upbeat sentiment.”
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) lost 0.6 percent, led by a 1.6 percent drop in information-technology companies, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG), which hit a record last week, fell 0.3 percent in a third declining day. The Kospi index in South Korea, where markets have also been closed for the past two days, retreated 0.2 percent.
All 10 industry sub-groups in the MSCI Asia Pacific gauge fell at least 0.1 percent today, with health care, industrial and consumer-discretionary stocks leading declines. Technology shares decreased 0.7 percent.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (CCMP) sank 1.4 percent in the U.S., while technology, consumer-discretionary and financial stocks drove the S&P 500’s biggest one-day drop since April 11. Twitter sank to $31.85, extending its 2014 loss to 50 percent, as about 480 million shares from insiders became eligible for sale, more than quadrupling the amount available for trading.
Nickel for three-month delivery in London climbed 0.4 percent to $18,622 a metric ton, after gaining 1.5 percent yesterday to close at the highest level since February 2013. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia, plus Indonesia’s ban on ore exports, have stoked concerns over a global supply shortage. Copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.2 percent today to $6,704 a metric ton.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose to $99.86 a barrel, after settling little changed at $99.50 in the previous session. U.S. oil stockpiles shrank by 1.82 million barrels last week amid falling supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. Energy analysts predict a government report due today will show inventories extended gains from a record high.
Brent crude added 0.1 percent to $107.18 a barrel after falling 0.6 percent yesterday.
Wheat futures for July delivery decreased for the first time in four days, dropping 0.4 percent to $7.3625 a bushel in Chicago. The contract touched the highest price since June 2013 yesterday. Russia is the world’s fifth-largest wheat exporter, followed by Ukraine.
Ukraine’s efforts to regain ground from pro-Russian militants in cities in the country’s east were undermined as insurgents killed four government troops and downed a military helicopter. Russia called on Ukraine to postpone its presidential election set for May 25, after its completed its new constitution.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama have set the May 25 vote as a deadline for Russia to reject the separatists’ actions and withdraw support or possibly face deeper economic sanctions. Russia is convinced that Ukraine has a way out of the crisis, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday.
Corn and soybean futures also declined, falling at least 0.3 percent.
Gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,311.30 an ounce after snapping a two-day advance to fall 0.2 percent yesterday. Silver gained 0.3 percent.
source : bloomberg