Asian stocks search for direction on the first trading day of the week


Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 drifted higher by 0.05 percent as gains in the energy and materials sectors were offset by declines in the heavily weighted financials sector.

Meanwhile, MSCI’s broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan was little changed, last higher by 0.03 percent in Asia morning trade.

The sideways trade in Asia came after U.S. stocks mostly closed higher on Friday amid gains in energy shares — following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal.

That capped off a strong week, which saw the Dow rise 2.3 percent — its biggest weekly gain since March. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq advanced 2.4 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Oil prices were steady on Monday after slipping in the last session, but still relatively close to more than three-year highs touched recently. Brent crude futures were off by 0.08 percent at $77.06 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate slipped 0.06 percent to trade at $70.66.

Meanwhile, trade is likely to come back into focus after Trump said in a Sunday tweet that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast.”

The U.S. government had imposed a ban on U.S. companies from supplying ZTE with technology after the Chinese company was found to have illegally shipped equipment to Iran.

Ahead, full-year earnings from Nissan Motor, Pioneer and Takeda Pharmaceutical are expected later in the day.

In corporate news, Commonwealth Bank of Australia‘s chief financial officer, Rob Jesudason, has resigned with immediate effect, with Alan Docherty taking on the position of Acting CFO Monday, the lender said. CBA is one of several banks part of an inquiry into the financial sector in Australia. Shares were lower by 0.31 percent in the morning.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, last stood at 92.486, after trading as high as the 93.4 handle last week. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 109.28 at 8:08 a.m. HK/SIN.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.



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