By Dow Jones Newswire
Asian stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday, giving up early gains, as rising oil prices and trade tensions continued to set the tone for trading.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.34% fell 0.3%, with oil consumers lagging on crude’s overnight pop following a U.S. official’s comments warning the world to end Iranian oil imports or face sanctions. Major shipper Mitsui OSK /zigman2/quotes/204152844/delayed JP:9104 -0.30% was down over 3% at one point before closing down 1.5%, while airline operator ANA /zigman2/quotes/202790240/delayed JP:9202 +0.37% fell 1.6%. Conversely, energy stocks were up with oil explorer Japan Petroleum Exploration /zigman2/quotes/201212147/delayed JP:1662 -3.37% surging 4.7% and distributor JXTG /zigman2/quotes/208590403/delayed JP:5020 -0.11% climbing 6.3%.
Oil prices gained on news the U.S. expects all countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by Nov. 4 or risk sanctions, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday, expressing a toughening of the Trump administration’s Iran policy as Washington tries to politically and economically isolate Tehran.
Chinese stocks fell anew as the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.34% hit fresh two-year lows, down 1.1%, and entered bear-market territory to join Shenzhen index /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.15% at least 20% below their most recent highs.
Hong Kong stocks started slightly higher before joining much of the region in the red, as the Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.42% closed down 1.8%. It has dropped in eight of the past 10 days. Insurer AIA /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 -0.33% gained initially but closed down 1.7%. Energy stocks jumped, with CNOOC /zigman2/quotes/203421416/delayed HK:883 -1.61% 3.2% higher, though off the session’s best, and PetroChina /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -3.70% managing a 0.3% higher finish after rallying sharply early on.
China’s largest steel-trading platform filed an IPO application in Hong Kong, with Zhaogang.com said to be seeking to raise around $500 million. The move marks the third major Chinese company with a dual-class structure to seek a listing in Hong Kong following recent rule changes, following smartphone maker Xiaomi and Chinese tech startup Meituan.
South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.04% reversed early gains, as losses by automakers and steelmakers outweighed gains by tech companies. Posco /zigman2/quotes/201759282/delayed KR:005490 -2.41% fell while Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 +0.28% gained.
Stocks in Malaysia /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.22% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +0.52% and Taiwan were up modestly to begin but floundered later, as did the benchmark in Australia /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.0013% . New Zealand /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.25% closed modestly higher.