Asia Markets: Asian markets shrug off Senate’s approval of tax bill

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Asia-Pacific stocks didn’t react much to the U.S. Senate’s passing of a sweeping tax-code revision, though the special counsel’s probe of President Donald Trump’s campaign loomed over market moves.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to federal investigators, “himself is not important for markets,” ANZ said in a morning note to clients. “But the fact that he is now cooperating with the investigation and could implicate key people further up the chain is.”

S&P 500 futures were recently up 0.6%. The U.S. index finished down 0.2% on Friday.

Nearly all Asia-Pacific indexes were within 0.2% of Friday’s closes on Monday, but the U.S. dollar jumped. The WSJ Dollar Index rose 0.3%, with the currency up a half yen versus late-Friday New York levels at ¥112.75.

But that didn’t help the Nikkei NIK, -0.17%  , which was off 0.2%, even as oil companies rose at least 1%. But precision-instrument makers experienced declines, with Olympus 7733, -3.47%   down nearly 3%.

The S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.13%   was flat despite gains for commodity companies. Rio Tinto RIO, +0.86%   and BHP Billiton BHP, +1.50%   rose more than 1.5%. The country’s major banks were down.

One early highlight was Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.24%  , which rose 0.3% after sliding 2.7% last week, the most since August. Monday’s early gains came despite index major Samsung Electronics 005930, -0.98%   falling a further 0.7% after last week’s 8.3% skid, the biggest in 5½ years.

Meanwhile, oil futures fell 0.3% to start the week in Asia. That came after an end-of-week jump, helped by a weaker dollar.