The Asian markets became mixed as oil prices rose
BEIJING – Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday after commodity prices rose sharply following an attack on Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing plant.
Hong Kong's benchmark index fell 1.1% while Seoul advanced and Shanghai and Sydney little changed. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
The Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,030.82 when trading resumed after a three-day weekend. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was up 2 points at 6,670.01.
Seoul's Kospi rose 0.5% to 2,060.06 while Southeast Asian markets declined.
The US crude reference benchmark jumped more than $ 5 a barrel following the attack on oil producer Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq plant, for which Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility. Brent crude, the international standard, was up $ 6 after playing almost $ 8 at one point.
Jumping in crude prices hurt airlines and other companies with large fuel bills and pushed up inflation. At the same time, higher prices are a boost for oil exporters like Malaysia and temporarily pushed up stock prices for crude producers.
"This is clearly not a good day if you are an oil importer," said Christ Weston of Pepperstone Groups in a report.
"This is not just a question of who or even what actually caused the attacks, but some have questioned whether we want to see further attacks and Saudi infrastructure being vulnerable," Weston said.
The Hang Seng Index fell to 27,040.47 points after several protests against the government. Hong Kong Airport reported that passenger traffic fell 1[ads1]2% in August from a year ago, a sign demonstration that began three months ago is beginning to have a financial impact.
"Oil disruptions aside, investors would already be nervous today in Asia as a belligerent China returns from vacation," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.
Investor fears of the US-Chinese customs war eased after conciliatory gestures last week by both sides ahead of scheduled talks next month about their trade and technology conflict.
President Donald Trump postponed scheduled toll rises until October 1 to October 15, opening up the possibility that they could be suspended indefinitely if talks continue. Beijing announced on Friday that it would lift penalties on soybeans, China's largest US imports and some other commodities.
Despite this, the two sides have provided no indication of progress toward resolving the core issues of the burgeoning conflict of trade and technology that threaten to cool global economic growth.
On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index turned in its three straight weekly gains Friday, even as major US indices ended the day mostly lower.
A slide in technology stocks, along with losses in consumer-focused and real estate companies, offset solid gains elsewhere in the market, including major Wall Street banks and industrial stocks.
Investors are looking for a possible US interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this week. The central bank lowered the reference rate in July by a quarter, the first cut in ten years, in an effort to help sustain US economic growth.
The S&P 500 Index fell 0.1% to 3,007.39. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1% to 27,219.52.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.2% to 8,176.71.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. Crude oil rose $ 4.86 to $ 59.71 a barrel in e-commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 24 cents on Friday to close at $ 54.85. Burnt crude jumped $ 5.88, or 9.8%, to $ 66.10 a barrel.
CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 107.82 yen from Friday's 108.09 yen. The euro was little changed to $ 1.1075. / gsg
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