Asian shares edge higher in dull trading as US takes holiday

AP News
Posted: Sep 05, 2016 11:02 PM
Asian shares edge higher in dull trading as US takes holiday

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in quiet trading on Tuesday after U.S. markets were closed for the Labor Day holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 percent to 17,074.27 and South Korea's Kospi was flat at 2,060.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was also nearly unchanged at 23,636.83 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4 percent to 3,060.83. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 also fell 0.4 percent, to 5,408.90.

JAPAN STIMULUS: The Bank of Japan is reviewing its ultra-lax monetary easing, which has taken the central bank's policy rate into negative territory. In a speech Monday, Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda offered mixed signals on policy direction. The upshot was "it is logical to infer that the Bank will conduct further easing," to achieve Japan's 2 percent inflation target, said Hiroshi Ugai of JP Morgan in Tokyo. "Kuroda did not share the view that there is a limit to monetary easing," he added.

G-20: The Group of 20 major economies wrapped up their annual summit, held in Hangzhou, China, with a stronger commitment to coordinate policies to support growth and promote trade liberalization. The gathering also launched a new initiative to work on curbing excess steel production capacity, especially in China, which may help smooth tensions over the issue.

GLOBAL MARKETS: In Europe, Germany's DAX ended 0.1 percent lower at 10,672.22 while the CAC-40 fell 0.02 percent to 4,541.08. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares finished the session 0.2 percent lower at 6,879.42.

ENERGY: Oil prices pushed ahead amid speculation of a production freeze after the world's two largest oil producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, agreed to act together to stabilize global oil output. It's unclear what that may entail though. Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 82 cents to $45.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.28 to $44.44 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 5 cents to $47.68 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1154 from $1.1150, and the dollar also climbed, to 103.54 yen from 103.39 yen.