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Mood remains upbeat for Asian markets after rally

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Investors are taking a breather after recent gains but there are expectations of further advances as the global outlook improves. AFP

Mood remains upbeat for Asian markets after rally

Most Asian markets were mixed on Monday as investors took a step back after last week’s rally, though the mood remains upbeat after the Sino-US trade pact was signed, and the global outlook appears a little rosier.

Focus now turns to the release of corporate earnings, with big US names including Netflix, IBM and Hyundai due to report over the coming days.

Friday’s broadly healthy Chinese data provided some reassurance to traders, indicating a growth slowdown in the world’s number two economy may have bottomed out, and suggesting this year could see some improvement.

“We are entering 2020 on a more stable footing with economies globally stabilising and looking like they’re turning up, and the phase one trade deal,” UBS Asset Management’s Anne Anderson told Bloomberg TV.

“So it’s a bit more positive with regard to the economic fundamentals.”

The positive sentiment helped Wall Street to chalk up more records, though there are worries the upward momentum could slow and gains could trigger some profit-taking soon.

In Asian trade, Tokyo and Sydney each ended up 0.2 per cent, while Shanghai gained 0.7 per cent. Seoul piled on 0.5 per cent, while Taipei was also up.

But Hong Kong struggled after last week’s advances and was 0.90 per cent lower, with Singapore, Wellington, Mumbai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila also in the red. The Cambodia Securities Exchange index ended 0.85 per cent higher.

AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes said the general outlook was for further rises.

“There’s a belief that global growth will continue to pick up speed over the coming months, as significant downside risks to the global economy have been turned aside, and worries over a possible recession have diminished,” he said in a note.

However, Michael Hewson of CMC Markets UK said there was still “an element of worry, with the resilience of the gold price speaking to a market that doesn’t necessarily want to put all of its eggs into one basket”.

Oil prices rose more than one per cent on supply concerns after exports from Libya, which has been riven by fighting between rival factions since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising, were blocked after a pipeline was shut down by armed forces.

And in Iraq, which is Opec’s second-biggest producer, a strike at a key oil field hit output. There are also fears that long-simmering tensions could explode into major unrest, with matters not helped by the US killing in the country this month of Iran’s top general.

In early trade, London was flat, Frankfurt dipped 0.1 per cent and Paris eased 0.2 per cent.

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