Asian markets fall in slow post-Easter trading

Asian markets fall in slow post-Easter trading

Stocks dip slightly in Japan, more so in China

Asian stock markets fell Monday following the Easter holiday weekend as investors looked ahead to U.S. and Japanese economic data.

Benchmarks in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai retreated. Hong Kong and Sydney were closed for the holiday.

On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended a shortened trading week on Thursday snapping a winning streak of three weekly gains.

Investors looked ahead to U.S. quarterly gross domestic product due out Friday. The United States reports new home sales Tuesday while Japan announces factory output on Friday.

“The broad expectation is for U.S. indices to grind higher,” said Jingyi Pan of IG Markets in a report.

“However, with prices nearing all-time highs, some sense of caution may be bound to set in,” Pan said. “Earnings and the first reading of U.S.’s Q1 GDP at the end of the week would be key for markets.”

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.08% slipped 0.1% and Seoul’s Kospi SEU, +0.17% fell 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite Index SEU, +0.17% shed 1.3%.

Benchmarks in Taiwan Y9999, +0.18% and Singapore STI, +0.14% gained.

Among individual stocks, Yahoo Japan 4689, +2.55% gained in Tokyo trading, while robotics maker Fanuc 6954, -1.41% declined. LG Electronics 066570, -0.81% and SK Hynix 000660, +2.15% slipped in Korean trading.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.16% gained 0.2% to 2,905.03 before closing for Good Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.42% rose 0.4% to 26,559.54. The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.02% added less than 0.1% to 7,998.06.

Benchmark U.S. crude CLK9, +2.23% surged $1.48 to $65.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.20 on Friday to close at $64.07. Brent crude LCOM9, +2.36% , used to price international oils, soared $1.73 to $73.70 per barrel in London. It gained 35 cents the previous session to $71.97.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.01% gained to 111.94 yen from Friday’s 111.91 yen.

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