Asia stocks at three-week lows as China worries grow; oil up
- Energy shares help European shares to edge higher
- Nikkei edges down, marks longest losing streak of ‘Abenomics’
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index ended slightly lower on Wednesday, marking its longest losing streak since the start of “Abenomics”, as the yen hovered near a 17-month high.
More than three years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a three-pronged stimulus and reform plan to revive the stagnant, deflationary economy, the country remains stuck in low gear.
Recent weak economic data have raised fears the economy may have slipped into its fourth recession in five years, with a resurgent yen adding to pressure on exporters.
“The market is now posing big questions about Abenomics,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.1 percent to 15,715.36 points, its seventh consecutive losing session.
Shares of Inpex Corp ended 0.7 percent lower after Japan’s biggest oil and gas developer halved its full-year net profit estimate late on Tuesday due to the ongoing oil rout.
Hong Kong stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with financial shares curbing gains on the main index as investors await fresh cues for direction.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent, to 20,206.67, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 percent, to 8,668.63 points.
Most sectors rose but financial shares underperformed, losing 0.5 percent, as Chinese banks are under margin pressures from a slowing economy and rising bad debt.
European equities edged higher in early trading on Wednesday after steep declines in the previous session, with energy shares gaining following a bounce back in crude oil prices.
The STOXX Europe Oil and Gas index rose 1.2 percent, the top sectoral gainer, after crude prices jumped on hopes for an agreement among exporters to freeze output. Shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP rose around 1 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.2 percent at 1,290.71 points by 0718 GMT after falling 1.9 percent in the previous session
The healthcare sector was flat, with investors digesting news of U.S. drug maker Pfizer agreeing on Tuesday to terminate its $160 billion agreement to acquire Botox maker Allergan, in a major victory to U.S. President Barack Obama’s drive to stop tax-dodging corporate mergers.
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