Asian markets mostly down, oil prices sink further

GMT 09:51 2014 Monday ,01 December

Arab Today, arab today Asian markets mostly down, oil prices sink further

A display board shows share prices
Tokyo - AFP

Asian markets mostly fell Monday after China released data pointing to further weakness in its manufacturing sector, but Tokyo hit a seven-year high as the yen slipped against the dollar.
Energy firms took a hit for a second successive session while airlines climbed after OPEC's decision to maintain oil output levels despite a supply glut and plunging prices.
Tokyo rallied 0.75 percent to its best finish since July 2007 thanks to fresh yen weakness which helps its exporters. The Nikkei added 130.25 points to 17,590.10.
But Sydney sank 1.98 percent, or 105.3 points, to close at 5,207.7 and Seoul fell 0.79 percent, or 15.56 points, to 1,965.22.
Shanghai finished down 0.10 percent, or 2.68 points, at 2,680.16 while Hong Kong ended 2.58 percent lower, giving up 620.00 points to 23,367.45.
China's official Purchasing Managers' Index of manufacturing eased to 50.3 last month, lower than the 50.8 seen in October and the weakest since March. A figure above 50 signals expansion in the sector, while anything below indicates contraction.
The figure is the latest pointing to a slowdown in the world's number two economy and follows a surprise move by the central People's Bank of China on November 21 to cut interest rates.
Adding to worries about the economy, the independent China Index Academy said Sunday that house prices in the country's 100 major cities fell on a monthly basis for the seventh straight month in November.
Energy firms in the region fell again as oil prices sank to multi-year lows in reaction to Thursday's announcement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that it would not cut production.
- Energy firms down, airlines up -
The cartel refused to heed calls for a reduction, even though prices have tumbled more than 30 percent since June on the back of an oversupply caused by weak demand and a surge in output from the United States.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery plunged $2.10 in afternoon trade to $64.05, its lowest level since July 2009.
Brent crude for January sank $2.35 to $68.80, lows not seen since late 2009.
Among the biggest losers were Sydney-listed Santos, which fell almost 10 percent, while BHP Billiton lost 5.3 percent and Woodside shed 4.3 percent. In Hong Kong, PetroChina was 4.6 percent lower and CNOOC fell 4.6 percent.
"Negative actions in the oil market are continuing today. Investors see crude as remaining vulnerable after last week's OPEC announcement," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
"We have not yet seen any piece of news or development that could trigger a bottoming-out phase in oil prices," he added.
However, airlines -- whose biggest cost is fuel -- climbed again. In Tokyo Japan Airlines added 4.2 percent and rival ANA gained 4.0 percent, while in Hong Kong Cathay Pacific rose 4.5 percent and Korean Airlines in Seoul was up 6.0 percent.
On foreign exchange markets the dollar rose to 118.70 yen, up from 118.65 yen in New York Friday.
The euro climbed to 147.66 yen from 147.64 yen, while it bought $1.2436 against $1.2443.
Wall Street ended mixed in truncated trade Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Dow edged marginally higher to a new record and the Nasdaq added 0.09 percent but the S&P 500 slid 0.25 percent.
Gold was at $1,156.80 an ounce, compared with $1,182.86 late Friday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei fell 0.76 percent, or 69.44 points, to 9,117.71.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 1.1 percent to Tw$140.00, Hon Hai shed 1.8 percent to Tw$95.30 and HTC was down 0.7 percent at Tw$136.00.
-- Wellington rose 0.10 percent, or 5.18 points, to 5,426.62.
Air New Zealand added 1.44 percent to NZ$2.465 and Trade Me was unchanged at NZ$3.79.
-- Manila ended up 0.51 percent, or 37.35 points, at 7,331.73.
Universal Robina rose 0.36 percent to 195.80 pesos, SM Investments jumped 1.99 percent to 820.50 and SM Prime Holdings fell 0.82 percent to 16.98 pesos.



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