Geopolitics weigh on sentiment

16 April, 2018

Markets in Asia were mixed on Monday amid rising geopolitical tensions following a western air strike over Syria and as investors await for fresh economic reports later this week.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.29 percent, while the broader Topix ended 0.40 percent higher. Pharmaceuticals and machinery were the best performing subindexes for the day.

South Korea’s Kospi traded in red territory, easing 0.05 percent, despite heavyweight Samsung Electronics rising nearly one percent during the session. Manufacturing stocks were down today.

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 benchmark rose 0.21 percent, with utilities and energy-related stocks coming on top of the list for best performers.

Meanwhile, mainland China’s Shanghai composite and Shenzhen composite were down 1.53 percent and 0.61 percent respectively. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was trading 2.08 lower by the time of this writing.

In Asia hours, US stock index futures were higher. Wall Street’s top three indexes closed in red on Friday, despite better-than-expected earnings from major banks.

JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all showed upbeat quarterly earnings and revenue figures, above analyst forecasts. Strong results were priced in and so the SPDR S&P Bank ETF ended lower at 1.6 percent.

This week investors will be looking at reports from other bank heavyweights such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Economic calendar:

Ahead in today’s session, retail sales for March will be out as of 12:30 GMT, along with the NY Empire State manufacturing index for April. Business inventories are due at 14:00 GMT.

Investors will also be monitoring a series of speeches by FOMC representatives, including Kaplan and Kashkari at 16:00 GMT and Bostic as of 17:15 GMT

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