Asian Shares Mix as Investors Expect U.S. Policy Details

On Friday, Asian shares traded mixed in a light regional data day and investors input into the next set of steps for U.S. economic policies as the Trump administration get ready its health care and tax reduction plans.

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On Friday, Asian shares traded mixed in a light regional data day and  investors input into the next set of steps for U.S. economic policies as the Trump administration get ready its health care and tax reduction plans.

Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 decline 0.35% on Friday, whereas in South Korea, the Kospi increased 0.1% as the won declining against the greenback. Then on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Seoul  as part of his tour of Asia. On Thursday in Japan, Tillerson stated that part of his visit was to find a “new approach” to deal with threats from North Korea, 12:02AM ET.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 increased 0.32%, while China’s Shanghai composite was nearly flat in early trade and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was also held steady.

On Thursday,  Chinese group, the Global CEO Fortune Club launched its first overseas fund with a goal to invest in Australian infrastructure projects. The group anticipates to find opportunities for public-private partnership from its base in Melbourne.

Suddenly, U.S. equities closed mostly lower on Thursday, as increased in Financials were offset by losses in health care, after President Trump’s budget blueprint recommended budget reductions to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Healthcare stocks plummeted, as President Trump’s budget blueprint proposed reducing the NIH budget by $5.8 billion, while Financials, mostly banks, traded hesitantly higher after the Fed Reserve hiked interest rates on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Fed Reserve increased  interest rates by 0.25% to a target range of 0.75% to 1%, however,  kept its previous prediction of three rate increases this year unaffected.
Meanwhile,  economic data failed to boost sentiment while U.S. crude futures fight to hold onto gains from the prior session.

Weekly initial unemployed claims drop to 241,000. Housing starts increase at a seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 1.288 million in February, although the Philadelphia Fed Index topped forecasts at 32.8 for March. The Philadelphia Fed Index and the housing, both starts beat forecasts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.07% lower at 20,934. The S&P 500 lost 0.16% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.01% to close at 5,900.

On Additional News

At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.24%. REITs, Gold and Financials sectors led shares higher.

The poorest performers of the session were Southern Cross Media Group Ltd (AX:SXL), which declined 3.00% or 0.040 points to trade at 1.295 at the close. Retail Food Group Ltd (AX:RFG) dropped 2.84% or 0.160 points to end at 5.480 and Seven West Media Ltd(AX:SWM) declined 2.80% or 0.020 points to 0.695.

The top performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were IPH Ltd (AX:IPH), which increased 6.52% or 0.300 points to trade at 4.900 at the close. In the meantime, Myer Holdings Ltd (AX:MYR) added 5.09% or 0.055 points to end at 1.135 and Galaxy Resources Ltd(AX:GXY)  increased 4.55% or 0.023 points to 0.517 in late trade.

Increasing  stocks outnumbered decreasing ones on the Australian Stock Exchange by 592 to 500 and 313 ended unaffected.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which gauges the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, increased 7.99% to 9.745.

Delivery of gold futures  for  April declined 0.09% or 1.10 to $1226.00 a troy ounce.

Somewhere else in commodities trading, delivery of crude oil in April increase 0.25% or 0.12 to hit $48.87 a barrel, although the May Brent oil contract increase 0.14% or 0.07 to trade at $51.81 a barrel.

AUD/USD increased p 0.10% to 0.7685, while AUD/JPY surges 0.21% to 87.16.

The US Dollar Index Futures were  unmoved 0.00% at 100.09.

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