Asian markets rise as oil lifts energy firms


Asian markets rallied on Thursday following a positive lead from Wall Street, with energy firms tracking a surge in oil prices as dealers welcomed a surprise drop in US stockpiles.

The US energy department said crude inventories fell almost twice as much as expected last week, fanning hopes about demand in the world’s top economy and sending both main oil contracts rallying more than two percent.

The report was the latest positive for the oil market, which has been rallying since OPEC last month made an agreement to cut output in a bid to address a global glut.

While oil dipped Thursday, the previous day’s gains provided support to energy companies across Asia, with Hong Kong-listed CNOOC and PetroChina each up more than two percent. In Tokyo Inpex and Showa Shell Sekiyu gained more than one percent and BHP Billiton added 1.5 percent.

Those gains lifted broader markets and by the break Tokyo was 1.0 percent higher, while Hong Kong gained 0.8 percent and Shanghai put on 0.1 percent. Sydney, Seoul and Singapore each rose 0.2 percent.

Dealers are also keeping an eye on the final US presidential debate between market favourite Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

“The presidential debate is a must watch for investors in the Asia-Pacific region,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, said in an e-mail to clients.

“A clear win for either candidate is important — markets are likely to buy Clinton and sell Trump.”

On forex markets the dollar edged up slightly against the euro ahead of a closely watched European Central Bank meeting, the first since rumours emerged that it is considering tapering its vast stimulus scheme.

Despite the chatter, many analysts expect it to maintain its easing programme and possibly flag fresh measures in December.

– Key figures at 0230 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: 1.0 percent at 17,174.05 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 23,486.37

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,088.32

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0968 from $1.0973 Wednesday

Dollar/yen: UP at 103.66 yen from 103.42 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2287 from $1.2283

Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.28 pence from 89.34 pence

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 10 cents at $51.50 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN one cent at $52.66

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 18,202.62 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,021.92 (close)

© 2016 AFP

Article source: