Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday following the London attack over the weekend and a private survey showing improvement in China’s service sector. Stocks moved within a narrow range ahead of the week packed with political events and economic data from the United Kingdom’s elections to China’s export data. Prices of oil rose following reports that four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent to 20,199.44 while South Korea’s Kospi was nearly unchanged at 2,372.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent to 25,885.46 and China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,088.97. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8 percent to 5,743.00. Stocks in Taiwan, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian markets were mostly higher.
CHINA DATA: A private survey showed that China’s factory activity expanded modestly in May while its service sector improved at a solid pace. The Caixin China Composite Output Index was 51.5 last month, up slightly from April but the second-lowest reading since September 2016. On the other hand, the Caixin China General Services PMI was 52.8 in May, up 1.3 points from April, the highest reading in four months. Beijing will release its May export data on Thursday, which will be a gauge for global demand.
GULF RIFT: Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced Monday morning that they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar over the gas-rich nation’s support for Islamist groups and its relations with Iran. The report sent the prices of crude oil higher. Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad said it was suspending flights to Qatar.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 60 cents to $48.26 per barrel in electronic trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 70 cents to settle at $47.66 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 61 cents to $50.56 per barrel.
LONDON ATTACK: Britain suffered another terrorist attack on Saturday night, increasing uncertainty ahead of its general election Thursday. Reactions in Asian markets were largely muted but investors were keen on the outcome of the upcoming election
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “The markets impact has been mute as dealers are becoming desensitized to the shocks knowing that whatever market impact occurs it diminishes quickly,” Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, said in a daily commentary.
U.S. WATCH: The U.S. economy added fewer than expected jobs in May, the government’s report showed Friday. The report was a disappointment to investors but it did not change their expectation that the Federal Reserve would increase a rate when policymakers meet later this month.
WALL STREET: On Friday, U.S. stocks finished higher despite the disappointing unemployment report. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,439.07. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 21,206.29, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.9 percent to 6,305.80.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.62 yen from 110.41 yen while the euro fell to $1.166 from $1.128.