Weak oil prices weigh down Asian stocks

TOKYO - Asian stock markets sank across the board Thursday as pessimistic sentiment following sustained weakness in oil prices and a dive on Wall Street prevailed over data showing economies on the mend.

See Full Article

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dived 3.7 per cent to 17,068.08. South Korea's Kospi was down 1.2 per cent at 1,894.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.6 per cent to 19,611.48 and Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8 per cent to 2,925.56. Other regional markets were also lower, falling in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.

FRAYED NERVES: Oil prices at 12-year lows and the volatile start to 2016 in China's stock and currency markets have unleashed a torrent of negativity among investors. Some analysts say a correction in stock prices is inevitable after multi-year gains fostered by loose monetary policy but also point out the underlying economic picture is reassuring. China's trade improved in December, U.S. job creation has remained strong, and Australia, which is one of the countries highly vulnerable to China's slowdown, reported another month of strong jobs growth in December.

THE QUOTE: "When sentiment rules, data can only play a secondary role," said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. "The lift in China exports in December not only smashed bearish expectations of a fall but spoke directly to the idea that the economy in China tanked" in the last quarter of 2015. "Yet these facts barely dented global investor psyches."

YEN CLIMB: The Wall Street jitters sent Japanese shares lower including giant exporters such as automakers Toyota and Honda, as well as Bridgestone and trading companies. The yen has been sought as a safe haven in the absence of confidence in other currencies recently, and that's usually a negative for Japanese companies, which rely on exports to boost earnings. The dollar has dropped from about 121.50 yen in mid-December to 117.50 yen lately.

WALL STREET: The Dow lost 364.81 points, or 2.2 per cent, to 16,151.41 on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell 48.40 points, or 2.5 per cent, to 1,890.28. It was the worst day for the index since Sept. 28. The Nasdaq slid 159.85 points, or 3.4 per cent, to 4,526.06. The drop over the first eight trading days of 2016 represents the worst start to a year in the history of both the S&P 500 and the Dow.

ENERGY: Falling oil prices are adding to the fears about a global slowdown. Investors fear that U.S. oil futures hovering at $30 a barrel could force some oil and gas companies to go bankrupt. Benchmark U.S. crude edged up 10 cents to $30.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract made a slight gain in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 29 cents to $29.99 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 117.55 yen from 117.41 yen in the previous trading session. The euro fell to $1.0877 from $1.0883.


Latest Economic News

  • Scandal-hit Weinstein Co. files for bankruptcy protection

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday with a buyout offer in hand from a private equity firm, the latest twist in its efforts to survive the sexual misconduct scandal that brought down co-founder Harvey Weinstein, shook Hollywood and triggered a movement that spread out to convulse other industries. Source
  • Court filings say multiple offers for Toys 'R' Us Canadian stores

    Economic CTV News
    U.S. court filings show that debtors for Toys "R" Us have received multiple non-binding offers for the Canadian division of the troubled retailer. The bankruptcy documents say debtors had reached out to more than 20 interested parties in a bid to sell off the 82 stores in Canada as the toy retailer looks to wind down operations. Source
  • TSX ends down along with U.S. markets, Canadian dollar makes slight gains

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's main stock index joined U.S. markets in the red Monday as a Federal Reserve meeting looms and a share price hit at Facebook over improper data use weighed on the tech sector. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 121.94 points to 15,589.39, led by declines in energy and base metals as both oil and copper prices slipped. Source
  • Analyst warns B.C. gas prices could soon hit a record high

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Drivers in British Columbia should brace for record high gasoline prices this summer and the financial pain has the potential to spread across the country, says a petroleum industry analyst. Dan McTeague of the online tech company GasBuddy predicts that beginning in April and continuing to September, gasoline prices across much of B.C. Source
  • Facebook shares fall as EU, U.S. urge probes of data practices

    Economic CBC News
    Facebook Inc. faced growing pressure on Monday after European and U.S. lawmakers called for investigations into reports that a consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump's campaign gained access to data on 50 million Facebook users. Source
  • Nordstrom Rack to open first Canadian store in Vaughan, Ont., Toronto to follow

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- American department store Nordstrom is opening the first Canadian location of its discount Rack chain on Thursday. The 35,000-square-foot store will be situated north of Toronto at Vaughan Mills mall. It is promising savings of up to 70 per cent on products from 38 of the 50 brands already sold in its Canadian department stores. Source
  • Greenpeace says brands refusing to reveal palm oil sources

    Economic CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Greenpeace says several major household brands including Hershey and Johnson & Johnson have failed to disclose where they get their palm oil from despite vows to stop buying from companies that cut down tropical forests to grow the widely used commodity. Source
  • 'Took fake news to the next level': Facebook data whistleblower on U.S. election

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A Trump-affiliated firm under scrutiny for inappropriately obtaining data on tens of millions of Facebook users created profiling algorithms that "took fake news to the next level," a former employee said. Chris Wylie said the firm, Cambridge Analytica, secured personal data in order to learn about individuals and then used it to create an information cocoon to change their perceptions. Source
  • How Facebook likes could profile voters for manipulation

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Facebook likes can tell a lot about a person. Maybe even enough to fuel a voter-manipulation effort like the one a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm stands accused of -- and which Facebook may have enabled. Source
  • Claire's files for bankruptcy, Canadian stores spared

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Claire's, the mall chain that has pierced the ears of millions of teens, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. but its Canadian and European stores are not involved. Source