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Asia markets remain mixed in thin trade

SINGAPORE

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday in thin trade, following Wall Street’s declines and the G20’s decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism, while the Federal Reserve’s less hawkish-than-expected comments continued to weigh on the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan  added 0.3 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.7 per cent. Chinese shares were mixed with the CSI 300 down 0.1 per cent while the Shanghai Composite added 0.1 per cent.

Australian shares closed down 0.36 per cent. South Korea ended the day 0.35 per cent lower. Japan is closed for a holiday.

The MSCI emerging markets index added 0.4 percent to hit its highest level in more than two years on Monday.

Investor sentiment towards emerging markets, while cooling, remains positive. Emerging market equity funds had their sixth straight week of inflows in the week ending March 15, but the pace slowed. They had net inflows of $215 million, compared with nearly $1 billion the previous week.

Meanwhile, broadly negative global cues and heavy selling pressure witnessed in IT, banking and metal stocks dragged the Indian equity markets lower on Monday.

The key indices traded in the red during the mid-afternoon trade session, as investors took to book profits.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 34.35 points or 0.37 per cent to 9,125.70 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 29,653.54 points, traded at 29,511.68 points (at 12.40 p.m.) — down 137.31 points or 0.46 per cent from the previous close at 29,648.99 points.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 29,699.48 points and a low of 29,482.40 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was marginally bearish — with 1,370 declines and 1,229 advances.

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls: “The CNX nifty traded with bearish sentiments due to profit booking at higher levels.”

“IT sector stocks traded with bearish sentiments due to profit booking, while banking, pharma, auto, oil-gas, media-entertainment and FMCG stocks traded with mixed sentiments,” Desai said.

“Textile, power and cement sector stocks traded with firm sentiments due to buying support.”

Indo-Asian News Service

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