Asia stocks mostly down after Syria strike

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono gesture at their meeting in Tokyo Japan

CHINA ECONOMY: Chinese shares declined ahead of the release of economic growth data that are expected to show the economy overshooting the official target to sustain a 6.8 percent annual pace in the first quarter of the year.

"There are two stories here, one backward-looking and one forward-looking", said Robert Subbaraman, chief economist for Asia, excluding Japan, at Nomura in Singapore. Australian stocks gained 0.5%, South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.15%.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 56.79 points or 0.3 percent to 21,835.53, while the broader Topix Index closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,736.22.

MIDDLE EAST: The leaders of Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon said Sunday that Western airstrikes on their ally Syria, targeting its chemical weapons program, have complicated prospects for a political settlement to the country's seven-year conflict.

"The markets had been bracing for a possible escalation in Syria following President Trump's earlier warnings". The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 12.20 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 5,841.30, and the broader All Ordinaries Index edged up 8.30 points or 0.1 percent at 5,933.

"That said, the underlying picture has not changed". 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".

Share markets started firmer in Asia on Monday amid relief USA -led strikes on Syria looked like being a one-off event that avoided a direct confrontation with Russian Federation, weighing on oil prices and safe-haven Treasuries.


The Dow gained 0.87 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent on Monday, with the biggest boosts from technology and health-care sectors, since investors were optimistic about the earnings season and appeared less anxious about USA -led missile attacks in Syria.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 89.441 after losing 0.4% overnight. The dollar was effectively flat at 107.055 yen. The euro edged higher, to $1.2364 from $1.2333.

The pound touched a near three-month high of $1.4346 and in reach of a post-Brexit referendum high with focus on data that could cement expectations of a May interest rate increase by the Bank of England.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) stepped into the currency market again on Tuesday, buying HK$5.77bn ($735m) in Hong Kong dollars as the local currency repeatedly hit the lower end of its allowable trading band.

The yields on German DE10YT=RR and 10-year USA government US10YT=RR bonds, among the most liquid and safe assets in the world, touched their highest levels in almost two weeks and four weeks, respectively. USA crude CLcv1 fell 1.62 percent to $66.30 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $71.49, down 1.5 percent on the day. Brent crude, which is used to price global oils, fell 81 cents to $71.77 per barrel.

In individual movers, Hong Kong-listed shares of Russian aluminum company Rusal tumbled 28.9% Monday, following news that the USA was preparing additional sanctions against Russia.

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