Asian markets were mostly lower today as investors keep taking profits, hitting Japanese and Korean markets. Australian stocks were down on a drop in Chinese iron ore futures. U.S. President Trump’s remarks on Chinese currency has investors worried. On Wall Street the Dow rose again, NASDAQ shows signs of weakness. Chipmaker Nvidia dropped after analysts downgraded the stock. In Europe markets see corrections, hitting Footsie and DAX. Oil prices are down while gold rises to its highest level in more than three months.


Asia Mixed, Japan And Hong Kong Lose

- Japanese stocks down again, Nikkei 225 lost 0.5 percent to 19,283 points, broader TOPIX Index down 0.4 percent to 1,550 points; lower dollar could not support stocks, losses were seen in steel, finance & investment as well as financial services; shares of Komatsu down 5.4 percent, Sumitomo Heavy down 4.9 percent, Mitsubishi Materials down 4.5 percent, Toho Zinc lost 4.4 percent; shares of Toshiba Corp rose 4.7 percent, Rakuten up 1.6 percent, Yamato Holdings up 1.6 percent

- Chinese stocks moved a tad higher, Shanghai Shenzhen Composite up 0.1 percent at 3,253 points, CSI 300 Index at 3,473 points; resource stocks were under pressure, investors took profits after recent run up in markets; analysts points at upcoming National People’s Congress and first quarter season; latest remarks on Chine currency seen as confusing after Trump called China “grand champion” of currency manipulation in a Reuters interview while Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the administration was not “making any judgments” yet

- Hong Kong also sees some profit taking, Hang Seng Index down 0.6 percent at 23,965 points, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.0 percent to 10,418 points; property stocks continued to rise with Sino Land gaining 1.4 percent, New World Development up 0.8 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties up 0.4 percent; China Unicom led gainers, up 2.9 percent; Tencent lost 1.7 percent

- Australian stocks saw broad declines, ASX 200 down 0.8 percent to 5,739 points; miners led the market down after Chinese iron ore futures dropped five percent; investors also weighed remarks of U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin who sees only limited effect of fiscal stimulus this year; BHP Billiton tanked 3.0 percent, Rio Tinto down 4.2 percent, Fortescue Metals down 3.4 percent; gold miner Newcrest Mining rose 0.5 percent

- Korean stocks see profit taking, KOSPI down 0.6 percent to 2,094 points; shares of Samsung Electronics lost 2.5 percent, chipmaker SK Hynix tanked 5.4 percent; car maker Hyundai Motor up 1.4 percent and utility KEPCO up 0.5 percent

Dow Higher, NASDAQ Loses

- Dow gained 0.2 percent to 20,810 points yesterday, NASDAQ down 0.4 percent to 5,835 points, S&P 500 slightly higher at 2,363 points

- Dow losers include shares of Caterpillar, Nike, Wal-Mart and United Technologies; gains led by Johnson&Johnson, Pfizer, Verizon and United Health

- stocks were supported after remarks von Donald Trump on jobs, saying his administration would bring back millions of jobs to the U.S.; while remarks are viewed positively, clarity is missed, especially after Treasury Sec Mnuchin said stimulus effects might be limited this year 

- initial jobless claims were up 6k to 244k last week; Kansas Fed manufacturing activity Index was down nine points to 11 points; Chicago Fed National Activity Index was down to negative 0.05 from 0.18 points

- shares of chipmaker Nvidia lost 9.3 percent yesterday after analysts from Instinet and BMO Capital downgraded the stock, partly due to its high premium; BMO Capital analyst Ambrish Srivastava lowered its rating from “market perform” to “underperform”, price target cut to $85 after raising it to $100 three weeks ago, Instinet analyst Romit Shah reduced the stock from “buy” to “reduce”, price target lowered to $90, also just recently raised its target price to $100

- today’s economic calendar includes Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for February, new home sales change

European Stocks Down

- Euro Stoxx 50 loses 0.4 percent to 3,320 points, London’s FTSE 100 down 0.3 percent to 7,252 points, French CAC 40 down 0.6 percent to 4,864 points; German DAX down 0.4 percent to 11,903 points and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index down 0.6 percent to 18,689 points

- in London shares of Intu Properties rise 7.1 percent, Old Mutual up 2.2 percent, British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines up 2.1 percent; Standard Chartered down 5.9 percent, RBS down 3.6 percent

- in Frankfurt shares of Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Börse and Lufthansa rise, BASF, ThyssenKrupp and Commerzbank are down

- International Consolidated Airlines said that operating profit was up 8.6 percent to 2.5 billion euros last year, revenue down 1.3 percent to 22.567 billion euros, passenger unit revenue down 5.4 percent; announced 500 million euros share buyback

- BASF said that net profit in Q4 was more than doubled on its chemicals business; net profit rose to 689 million euros, beating expectations, sales up 7 percent to 14.85 billion euros; 2017 sales growth of 6 percent eyed, from 57.55 billion euros last year; EBITDA seen rising between 1 and 10 percent, from 6.31 billion euros last year

- French consumer confidence flat in February, Italian Industrial sales rose 2.6 percent MoM in December; Italian consumer confidence down 2.2 to 106.6 points, business confidence up 1.5 to 106.3 points

Metals Higher, Oil Down

- spot gold rebounding today, up 0.6 percent to $1,256.16/oz, hitting highest in more than three months as traders look at political uncertainties in France and the U.S. which might unravel the foundations of today’s global market system, lower dollar also supportive

- base metals also rise on lower dollar and views that earlier drop might be overdone; worries on demand growth in China is persisting as a property tax is in the making, potentially hitting demand for base metals in China

- higher oil stocks in the U.S. pressure crude prices, also profit taking is seen happening; EIA reported 564k barrel increase in crude stocks, up for seventh week in a row, stronger prices continuously seen supporting output in the U.S. partly offsetting OPEC cuts; WTI down 0.6 percent to $54.15/bbl, Brent down 0.6 percent to $56.24/bbl

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