Asian stocks mixed, oil falls as Russian attacks intensify

Business Monday 14/March/2022 15:31 PM
Asian stocks mixed, oil falls as Russian attacks intensify

Bangkok: Stocks were mixed in Asia and oil prices fell today as uncertainty over the war in Ukraine and persistently high inflation kept investors guessing about what lies ahead.

Tokyo and Sydney advanced while Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai declined. US futures were higher.

Spreading outbreaks of coronavirus in China have added to uncertainties, with authorities ordering a lockdown in the technology and manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, that could worsen supply chain disruptions.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 3.8 per cent to 19,763.69 and the Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.9 per cent to 3,247.48.

Chinese shares have also come under selling pressure due to the threat of de-listings of major Chinese companies on US stock exchanges.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 per cent to 25,307.85 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 1.2 per cent to 7,149.40. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6 per cent to 2,644.99.

On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 1.3 per cent to 4,204.31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7 per cent to 32,944.19, while the Nasdaq composite index gave up 2.2 per cent to 12,843.81. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slipped 1.6 per cent to 1,979.67.

World markets have been rocked by dramatic reversals as investors struggle to guess how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will affect prices of oil, wheat and other commodities produced in the region.

That’s raising the risk the US economy may struggle under a toxic combination of persistently high inflation and stagnating growth.

Amid all the uncertainty, US stocks remain about 10 per cent below their peak from earlier this year, while crude oil prices remain more than 40 per cent higher for 2022 so far.

US benchmark crude oil lost $2.73 to $106.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It surged $3.31 per barrel on Friday to $109.33 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, the standard for international pricing, declined $2.48 to $110.19 per barrel.

The US dollar rose to 117.78 Japanese yen from 117.35 yen. The euro weakened to $1.0915 from $1.0926.