Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday amid worries about a U.S. rate hike and that a rally in oil prices may not be sustainable.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added nearly 0.1 percent to close at 16,772.46, but China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.4 percent to 2,803.63, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.1 percent to 20,346.24. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,388.80. Stocks in Taiwan and South Korea were down.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $49.85 a barrel in New York after the U.S. government reported a larger-than-expected drop in fuel stockpiles last week. Oil prices have risen over the last year, sparking fears prices may not be sustained. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 32 cents to $50.06.
ANALYST’S QUOTE: “The remarkable over 80 percent rally in oil since earlier this year may have been overdone, as the underlying macro conditions have not change proportionally. This suggested that speculative trades have driven up the price these months, and may not be sustainable,” said Bernard Aw, a market analyst with IG in Singapore.
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks climbed a second straight day on Wednesday, boosted by energy stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.8 percent, to 17,851.51 and The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.7 percent to 2,090.54. The Nasdaq composite index added 0.7 percent, to 4,894.89.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.71 yen from 109.98 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1179 from $1.1143.