|13 June, 2019

Thursday outlook: Asian shares, oil prices extend losses

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell as much as 1 percent

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 26, 2019.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 26, 2019.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
  • Protests in Hong Kong weigh on investor sentiment.
  • Brent oil and WTI extend losses
  • Saudi Arabia’s index gains 1.1 percent
  • Dollar and gold prices remain unchanged

Global markets

Asian shares dropped again early on Thursday, as a day of massive street protests in Hong Kong weighed on investor sentiment.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell as much as 1%, as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.5% following Wednesday’s 1.7% fall.

Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.8% while U.S. stock futures lost 0.3% in Asia, following small losses the previous day when the S&P 500 shed 0.20%.

Trade tensions between the United States and China also have been also affected sentiment negatively.

Oil prices

Oil prices extended declines on Thursday on concerns about lower demand growth and higher U.S. crude stockpiles.

Brent crude futures were down 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $59.91 a barrel by 0336 GMT after earlier rising slightly. Prices fell 3.7% on Wednesday to settle at $59.97, the international benchmark’s lowest close since January 28.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $51.06 a barrel. They fell 4% in the previous session to $51.14, the lowest close since January 14.

“It was a brutal move, sheer panic,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets, told Reuters.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday reported crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly for a second week in a row, climbing 2.2 million barrels last week after analysts had forecast a decrease of 481,000 barrels.

On Tuesday, the EIA cut its forecasts for 2019 world oil demand growth.

Middle East markets

Saudi Arabia's stock market gained 1.1% on Wednesday with National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender, gaining 2.7% and Al Rajhi Bank adding 1%.

The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4% with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender, increasing 0.8%.

In Dubai, the index dipped 0.4% with Emaar Properties, the emirate's largest listed developer, shedding 0.9% and Dubai Investments losing 1.5%.

Qatar's index gained 0.4%, led by a 1.3% gain in market heavyweight Industries Qatar. Commercial Bank rose 2.4% after a stock split of its shares taking effect earlier this week.

Egypt's blue-chip index EGX30 declined 0.3%, pressured by its tobacco producer Eastern Company which was down 2.9%.

Kuwait’s premier market index dropped 0.6 percent, Bahrain’s index edged up 0.1 percent and Oman’s index dropped 0.5 percent.

Currencies

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was steady at 96.957 after rising more than 0.3% overnight.

Precious metals

Gold prices were mainly unchanged early on Thursday.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,334.11 as of 0148 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,336.70 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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