Asian stocks tick up, oil rises amid U.S.-Iran tensions

Asian stocks edged up on Monday as investors pinned their hopes on any signs of a thaw in Sino-U.S. trade negotiations, while oil prices firmed on heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Asian Stocks

Wall Street shares closed slightly lower on Friday after hitting a record high thanks to signals last week from the Federal Reserve that it may cut interest rates soon to bolster the U.S. economy from protracted trade conflicts.

  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2%.
  • Japan’s Nikkei average was up 0.3%.
  • Chinese shares were little changed, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite up 0.1%.
  • Thr blue-chip CSI 300 flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1%.

Currency Markets

  • The dollar fetched 107.38 yen , having slipped to as low as 107.045 on Friday, the lowest level since its flash crash on Jan. 3.
  • The Aussie firmed 0.4% to $0.6954.
  • The Turkish lira strengthened 0.7% to 5.775 per dollar after Turkey’s main opposition claimed a decisive victory on Sunday in Istanbul’s re-run election.

Commodities

Oil prices climbed as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington following Iran’s shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying “significant” sanctions on Tehran would be announced.

  • Brent crude futures rose 0.3% to $65.39 per barrel, near Friday’s three-week high of $65.76.
  • U.S. crude futures were up 0.6% at $57.76, also near Friday’s three-week high.
  • The precious metal stood at $1,405.41 per ounce, not far from Friday’s six-year high of $1,410.78.

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