Asia Markets: Asian markets mostly up after herky-jerky trading


It was a bit of a herky-jerky session for Asian stocks on Monday, colored by optimism about the Korean Peninsula and a fresh slump in oil prices. Stock indexes in a number of markets spend the session swinging between gains and losses.

The Nikkei NIK, +0.13%  closed up 0.1%, as the yen steadied. Meanwhile, benchmarks in South Korea SEU, +0.74%  and Taiwan Y9999, +0.42%  rose 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively.

Airlines and electronics stocks helped the Nikkei start on the right foot; ANA 9202, +2.18%   was 2.2% higher. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electron 8035, +0.35%   rose a further 1.5% and Sony 6758, +2.01%  was up 2% as the dollar USDJPY, -0.01%   climbed to ¥109.70. And as is the norm, falling Treasury yields were hitting Japanese life insurers, with Dai-ichi 8750, -0.40%   off more than 1%.

Korea’s Kospi got a bump, even with Samsung 005930, -0.76%   slipped 0.7% to start the week as steelmaker Posco 005490, +2.31%   and Korea Electric Power 015760, +2.34%   each rebounded around 2% following Friday skids.

Fueling some optimism on the geopolitical front, U.S. officials arrived in North Korea on Sunday to help plan a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a day after the two Korean leaders held a surprise meeting of their own. That was after Trump abruptly cancelled that meeting last week.

Malaysia’s stock benchmark FBMKLCI, -1.20%   slid 1.2%, giving up Friday’s 1.2% rebound in the index.

Singapore stocks STI, +0.15%   finished up about 0.2%, with Singapore Airlines C6L, +0.60%   rising 0.6%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.48%   lagged with a 0.5% drop amid a turnaround for Australian energy stocks. After hitting fresh three-year highs last Monday, not just on rising oil prices but coal as well, it’s been a sharp U-turn for the sector. Following Friday’s 3%-4% swoon in global oil futures, Australian energy stocks have dropped 6.9% the past week, including a 2.5% drop Monday.

Oil prices were once again under pressure on Monday, with WTI crude CLN8, -1.78%  dropping 1.7% to $66.72 a barrel.

U.S. markets will be closed on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. London markets are also closed, for a bank holiday.