By Dow Jones Newswires
It was a bit of a herky-jerky session for Asian stocks on Monday, colored by optimism about the Korean Peninsula and a fresh slump in oil prices. Stock indexes in a number of markets spend the session swinging between gains and losses.
The Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39% closed up 0.1%, as the yen steadied. Meanwhile, benchmarks in South Korea /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.49% and Taiwan rose 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively.
Airlines and electronics stocks helped the Nikkei start on the right foot; ANA /zigman2/quotes/202790240/delayed JP:9202 -0.79% was 2.2% higher. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electron /zigman2/quotes/202883609/delayed JP:8035 -1.27% rose a further 1.5% and Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -0.57% was up 2% as the dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.4906% climbed to ¥109.70. And as is the norm, falling Treasury yields were hitting Japanese life insurers, with Dai-ichi /zigman2/quotes/208507587/delayed JP:8750 +0.89% off more than 1%.
Korea’s Kospi got a bump, even with Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -1.33% slipped 0.7% to start the week as steelmaker Posco /zigman2/quotes/201759282/delayed KR:005490 -1.86% and Korea Electric Power /zigman2/quotes/201367120/delayed KR:015760 +0.38% each rebounded around 2% following Friday skids.
Fueling some optimism on the geopolitical front, U.S. officials arrived in North Korea on Sunday to help plan a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a day after the two Korean leaders held a surprise meeting of their own. That was after Trump abruptly cancelled that meeting last week.
Malaysia’s stock benchmark /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.25% slid 1.2%, giving up Friday’s 1.2% rebound in the index.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.33% lagged with a 0.5% drop amid a turnaround for Australian energy stocks. After hitting fresh three-year highs last Monday, not just on rising oil prices but coal as well, it’s been a sharp U-turn for the sector. Following Friday’s 3%-4% swoon in global oil futures, Australian energy stocks have dropped 6.9% the past week, including a 2.5% drop Monday.
Oil prices were once again under pressure on Monday, with WTI crude dropping 1.7% to $66.72 a barrel.
U.S. markets will be closed on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. London markets are also closed, for a bank holiday.