Asian markets trade lower, Singapore shares down 0.15%

Asian markets trade lower, Singapore shares down 0.15%

Major markets in Asia traded mostly down on Friday, following a lower finish on Wall Street overnight.

In Singapore, stocks opened lower with the Straits Times Index down 0.15 per cent to trade at 2,653.65, The Business Times reported.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 traded down 0.37 per cent as of 8.20 a.m. HK/SIN time with both the energy and financials sectors down 3.24 and 0.26 per cent, respectively.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 1.34 per cent in early trade, with Trend Micro being the biggest loser, shedding 13.28 per cent. Overnight, the security software maker announced its fourth quarter earnings result and consolidated revenue for fiscal year 2015, ending Dec. 31.

For the fiscal year from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, the company's net income was 21.43 billion yen (S$267 million), down 3.9 per cent on-year.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was flat.

Tom White, head trader and chief market strategist at Red Option Advisors, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that movements on Wall Street overnight were also partly due to consolidation in the overall market, following the rapid movements in equities over the last month and a half.

"What we're seeing here is people taking a break from these massive swings we have had recently," he said. He added that it's likely that in the month leading up to the US Federal Reserve's meeting in March, there will be some range-bound trading unless a new catalyst emerges to move markets such as another sharp dip in oil prices.

Overnight in the US, major indexes closed down. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 40.40 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 16,413.43. The S&P 500 was down 8.99 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 1,917.83 while the Nasdaq composite slipped 46.53 points, or 1.03 per cent, at 4,487.54.

Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, said in a morning note there were some upsides in overnight trade.

"The US was unable to have four consecutive 1 [per cent] gains, which it has only done once since 1982," he wrote, adding, "However, the snap back is a positive too big to ignore and even if it lost 1 [per cent] tonight, it will still have had its best week of 2016."

In Europe, Lucas said the bank 'capitulation' trade was closing as "markets respond to the fact money markets and TLTRO [Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations] loans are not showing any signs of distress and the 'whatever it takes' line is trotted out again by the ECB shoring up default concerns."

Oil prices were mixed overnight after government data showed a rise in US crude stockpiles, contradicting an earlier industry report that said inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels in the week to Feb. 12.

The Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels in the last week.

US crude settled 11 cents higher, or 0.36 per cent, at US$30.77 a barrel while Brent futures fell 25 cents to US34.25.

There are no major economic data due today.

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