Oil slump hits energy stocks as most Asian markets open lower

Oil held losses after falling the most in three weeks as Opec stuck to the most predictable outcome in its plans to limit production.
Oil held losses after falling the most in three weeks as Opec stuck to the most predictable outcome in its plans to limit production.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - A slump in crude weighed on stocks linked to the energy sector as most Asian markets opened lower, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars held losses.

Stocks in Tokyo and Sydney opened lower, with energy producers dropping the most. Oil held losses after falling the most in three weeks as Opec stuck to the most predictable outcome in its plans to limit production. Commodity currencies maintained losses against the US dollar.

Japan's Topix slipped 0.3 per cent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.6 per cent. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 per cent. Futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and those on the FTSE China A50 Index rose 0.1 per cent.

West Texas Intermediate crude was flat at US$48.90, after sinking 4.8 per cent in the previous session.

The Aussie was flat after losing 0.7 per cent on Thursday, declining along with the Canadian dollar and the kiwi. Currencies of countries heavily reliant on commodities as an export all suffered in the wake of the slide in raw materials.

The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 111.71 per dollar as of 9:17am in Tokyo, after dropping 0.3 per cent on Thursday. Japan's core consumer prices rose for a fourth month in April, the longest run of gains since mid-2015, helped by higher energy costs.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after rising 0.2 per cent on Thursday.

Global equities are on course for the best week since April, trading at a record high after six weeks of gains, as investors bet global economic growth can withstand higher US interest rates as soon as next month. Stocks have recovered from worries surrounding the prospects for President Donald Trump's reform policies, which triggered the biggest slide on the S&P 500 in eight months last week. Still, the yield on 10-year Treasuries remains at 2.25 per cent as bonds climb amid concern inflation is lagging expectations.

The S&P 500 Index reached a fresh record on Thursday while the US currency strengthened as retailer results boosted confidence in the American consumers' ability to buoy economic growth.

Volume may be lower than normal on Friday as investors approach the long weekend in the US and the UK, both of which have holidays on Monday.

First-quarter US GDP was probably better than the dismal 0.7 per cent rate first estimated, data will show Friday, though analysts are already tamping down expectations for the second quarter.