Asian stock markets edge up; US dollar falls against yen

SEOUL, South Korea—Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Monday after Wall Street’s strong finish last week. The US dollar weakened against most major currencies, including the Japanese yen.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent to 23,714.88, and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,505.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 0.7 percent to 31,638.34, and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5 percent to 3,412.52. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1 percent to 6,077.10. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were moderately higher.

“US equity markets and the US dollar took a different turn last Friday, with a buffet of drivers at work,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. “The implication for Asian markets is one of sustained gains for the region on a quiet Monday.” Shares slipped in Shanghai and Shenzhen after the China Banking Regulatory Commission issued a notice over the weekend calling for stricter oversight over financial risks. The notice took aim at preventing banks from shifting funds into stocks, property investments, local government financing vehicles and industries that violate national policies on pollution or excess capacity, among other areas of concern.

United States stock markets finished higher last Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.7 percent to finish at 2,786.24 and the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.9 percent to 25,803.19. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 0.7 percent to 7,261.06, and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 0.3 percent to 1,591.97. US markets are closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Benchmark US crude rose 20 cents to $64.50 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 50 cents to settle at $64.30 per barrel in the previous session. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 6 cents to $69.93 per barrel.

The dollar slipped to 110.82 Japanese yen from 111.04 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.2215 from $1.2199.

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Turning Points 2018