HONG KONG: Most major Asian markets rose on Tuesday following another positive Wall Street lead, with energy firms surging along with oil prices.
A healthy earnings season has supported global equities in recent weeks, although gains have been limited by continuing concerns about the simmering trade war between China and the US.
As investors awaited the next developments in the tariffs dispute, they moved in to pick up cheaper stocks. Hong Kong was up more than 1% as it built on Monday’s gains. Shanghai surged to close 2.7% higher, day after hitting a near two-and-a-half-year low.
Tokyo jumped 0.7% and Singapore 1.8%, while Seoul gained 0.6%. However, Sydney dipped 0.3%, while Wellington, Taipei and Manila were also lower. Mumbai was flat, having hit a record high Monday.
Energy firms soared after a rise in oil prices Monday on the back of reports that Saudi Arabia had lowered its output. PetroChina piled on more than 4% in Hong Kong and Tokyo-listed Inpex was 1.9% higher.
Also, the US reimposed stiff sanctions on Iran following Donald Trump’s decision to exit a multi-nation nuclear deal with the major producer. While the first round of sanctions targets the Islamic Republic’s access to US banknotes and key industries including cars and carpets, the country’s key oil sector is in line to be hit on Nov 5.
Oil was slightly higher on Tuesday in Asia.
But the issue has fuelled geopolitical concerns, with some observers saying the White House is working towards regime change in Tehran.
Iran’s leaders have dismissed Trump’s offer of talks, saying the US was waging “psychological warfare”.
“This feels like a movie we’ve all seen before in Afghanistan and Iraq, and would appear to go counter to the approach President Trump seemed to have mapped out for the Middle East,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
“It’s a dangerous strategy given historical precedents and the entrenched Iranian regime. But, like the trade war with China and almost everything else the administration is pursuing, this too looks like a negotiating tactic.”
On currency exchanges, the pound edged up but was stuck around 11-month lows after tumbling in response to a warning from Britain’s international trade secretary Liam Fox, that the odds of leaving the EU without a deal were “60-40”.
That came on top of comments from Bank of England boss Mark Carney, who said the chance of leaving the EU without a deal was “uncomfortably high” and “highly undesirable”.
The euro was also up but still struggling to bounce back from Monday’s losses sparked by news that industrial orders in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell more than expected in June.
In early trade London equities rose 0.3%, Paris added 0.3% and Frankfurt was up 0.5%.