Asian Stocks Mixed; US, France, UK Military Strikes in Syria

Asian stock markets mixed on Monday. Investors say that the geopolitical tensions between Syria and the United States contributed to the trade results.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.26 percent as the broader Topix added 0.28 percent. Although the financial sector was weaker, the pharmaceuticals and precision machinery stocks contributed to the overall gains. The Japanese yen rose 0.1 percent to 107.21 per dollar.

In South Korea, KOSPI showed early gains as it rose 0.11 percent, Samsung Electronics gained 0.96 percent, technology shares were mixed, and manufacturing stocks were mostly lower.

Markets in Greater China underperformed compared to those in the Mainland. Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 1.78 percent, as technology and financial sectors took a hit.  On the mainland, Shanghai Composite lost 1.53 percent, and the Shenzhen Composite slid 0.67 percent. The CSI 300 index also fell 1.61 percent.

Meanwhile, MSCI broad index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, slid 0.59 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.21 percent. The energy and utility sectors were the top performers.

On the other hand, US stock index futures traded higher but pared some of the steeper gains today. The Dow futures rose around 48 points today. According to the last close on Friday, the S&P 500 slid 0.29 percent, and the NASDAQ fell 0.47 percent.

RELATED STORY: Asian and Australian Stocks Fluctuate as Trade Tensions Continue


Mission Accomplished

US president Trump vs Syrian president Al-Assad

US President Donald Trump tweeted, “A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” on Saturday.

This was after the US, United Kingdom, and France struck Syria’s alleged chemical weapons facilities; a response to Syria’s toxic gas attack a week before. The strike intended to serve a deterrent against Al-Assad’s regime.

“The markets are taking the surgical strike at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapon program in their stride as traders had priced in this outcome with a high degree of probability,” said Stephen Innes, Oanda’s head of trade in Asia-Pacific. He added, “With trade war and now Syria fatigue likely to set in, however, it’s best not to get too comfortable at this point as market risk sentiment swings will remain large this week.”

Ray Attril, the head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, said the air strikes on Friday “have thus far drawn only verbal condemnation from Russia… with its prediction of ‘global chaos’. If the West hits Syria again, not filling markets with fresh dread, at least judging from the limited foreign exchange market movements evident in the first two hours of the new trading week.”

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