Asian stocks declined as investors went to the sidelines and continued to take profits. In Japan worries about stronger yen limits short-term potential for stocks. Hong Kong closed lower, also seeing profit taking, while Australian stocks lost on weaker mining and energy stocks. On Wall Street the Dow gained but spent most of the trading day in the red. European stocks are mixed as political uncertainties persist.

Japan Continues Decline, China Down

- Japanese stocks continue to decline as uncertainties persist; Nikkei 255 down 0.9 percent at 19,107 points, broader TOPIX Index down 1.0 percent at 1,534 points; financials dropped again as yields of sovereign bonds dropped; investors are worried about a stronger yen that may curb companies earnings; Nikkei was down fourth trading day in a row, awaiting speed of Donald Trump on Tuesday; shares of Toshiba, Sompo Holdings, Sumco Corp and Shinsei Bank were down; stocks of Mitsubishi Motors, Pacific Metals, TOTO Ltd and DeNA Co rose
Chinese stocks also declined, Shanghai Shenzehn Composite was down 0.8 percent to 3,228 points, CSI 300 was down 0.8 percent to 3,446 points; Chinese authorities reject U.S. administration’s accusations of using currency devaluations to its advantage; car maker BYD Friday said 2016 net profit rose 79 percent to 5.04 billion yuan, revenue up 30 percent to 104 billion yuan, in line with guidance

- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index down 0.2 percent to 23.925 points, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index down 0.8 percent at 10.330 points; financials and oil stocks lost, with PetroChina down 1.5 percent, CNOOC down 1.4 percent; China Life down 1.2 percent, ICBC down 1.2 percent, Bank of China 1.0 percent lower; gainers include AIA Group up 2.8 percent, China Mengniu Dairy up 2.0 percent, AAC Technologies up 1.6 percent

- Korean stocks down 0.4 percent to 2,085 points; traders in wait-and-see mode after recent losses and ahead of data from the U.S. and China; shares of Samsung Electronics down 0.4 percent, chipmaker SK Hynix down 3.2 percent, auto stocks higher, Hyundai Motor up 0.3 percent, Kia Motors up 0.4 percent

- Australian stocks continue to decline, ASX 200 down 0.3 percent to 5,724 points; lower oil prices pressure oil stocks with Woodside down 1.2 percent and Santos 4.1 percent; trader see possibility of rising gold price but Newcrest Mining were down 2.0 percent; miners down with BHP Billion declining 0.3 percent ant Rio Tinto down 0.6 percent

Wall Street Ekes Out Small Gains

- Dow closed 0.1 percent higher at 20,821 points Friday; NASDAQ up 0.2 percent at 5,845 points, S&P 500 up 0.2 percent at 2,367 points

- Dow losers included Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, ExxonMobil and Chevron; gains were led by Wal-Mart, Johnson&Johnson, Intel and Home Depot

- stocks on Friday spent most of the trading day in the red, Dow was higher for an eleventh day in a row; stocks that saw gains include utilities and telcos, government bonds and gold is also seeing an increase in demand; political uncertainties continue to have investors worried as elections in two European companies are coming up and the Trump administration is expected to announce some tax plan

- shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise declined after announcing cuts to profit estimates for the current year as business is hurt by stronger dollar and higher expenses; sales in Q4 dropped ten percent and came in below expectations

European Markets Mixed

- German DAX up 0.1 percent at 11,811 points, French CAC 40 down 0.1 percent at 4,840 points, London’s FTSE 100 up 0.1 percent at 7,257 points and Italian FTSE MIB up 0.9 percent at 18,760 points

- in Frankfurt shares of Adidas leap 3.6 percent, Lufthansa, E.ON and Deutsche Bank rise; shares of Deutsche Boerse stall as merger with LSE on the brink of collapse; ProSiebenSat.1, Vonovia and Volkswagen lower

- in London shares of Direct Line Insurance fall 9.2 percent, Admiral Group down 4.2 percent, LSE Group down 3.4 percent and RBS down 1.6 percent; shares of Unilever, BP, CRH and Royal Dutch Shell rise

- Direct Line today announced that U.K.’s personal-injury damage awards are to reduce 2016 pretax profit to 215 to 230 million pounds

- Latest polls in France see election win of Emmanuel Macron leading to a decline in French bond yields to five-week low; last week French bond yields rose while some German government bonds yielded at new record lows

Oil Rebounds, Gold Lower

- oil prices rise today as investors look a potentially easing supply glut after growth in U.S. crude stocks started to weaken last week; Reuters news agency said Saudi Arabia offered to reduce output if Iran also lowered its production; Baker Hughes last week said oil rig count rose by five to 602 running rigs; Brent up 1.0 percent at $56.52/bbl; WTI up 0.7 percent at $54.35/bbl

- spot gold down 0.1 percent at $1,256.58; smaller corrections seen after latest run up in gold prices; CFTC CoT report shows highest level of net longs on gold in the past three years

- industrial metals mixed as copper is flat at $5,918/metric ton; aluminum rose 0.6 percent to $1.896/metric ton; CFTC reported slight decline in copper longs; supply concerns continue to limit downside, Helen Lau from Argonaut Sec said fundamentals remain intact

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