Asian Stock Markets Mostly Weaker as Oil Turns Lower

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) —
A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan January 12, 2016. Japan's Nikkei fell 2.7 percent after a market holiday on Monday, closing at its lowest in nearly a year, while U.S. stock mini futures were in the red pointing to a weak start. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
 A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)

Asian stock markets were mostly weaker Tuesday as the price of crude oil turned lower following a surge overnight.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.4 percent lower at 16,052.05 while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent to 1,914.22. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.3 percent to 19,408.30 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dropped 0.8 percent to 2,903.33. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.4 percent to 4,979.60. Stocks in Singapore and the Philippines were higher but stocks in Indonesia were lower.

On Monday, the International Energy Agency said it does not expect oil prices to recover significantly until 2017, but it expects slower growth in global supplies. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said oil would rise gradually to about $80 a barrel. The comments by the group of major oil-importing countries triggered a surge in crude oil prices and rallies in global stock markets overnight but they could not be sustained.

Despite the forecast that the glut of crude will be gradually reduced, “we remain cautious at this juncture, since so far, Iran and Iraq remained noncommittal in terms of production cuts though both countries welcomed the initiative,” Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 62 cents or 1.9 percent at $32.77 per barrel in New York. On Monday the contract jumped $1.56 to close at $33.39 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 64 cents to $34.05 per barrel in London.

U.S. stocks jumped on Monday as a surge in the price of oil lifted energy stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.4 percent to 16,620.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 1.5 percent to 1,945.50. The Nasdaq composite index added 1.5 percent to 4,570.61.

The dollar fell to 112.17 yen from 112.89 yen while the euro was nearly unchanged at $1.103.


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