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Asia report: Markets higher ahead of Brexit talks

Mon 19 June 2017 10:28 | A A A

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(ShareCast News) - Markets in Asia finished higher on Monday, as markets prepared for the Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the so-called 'EU27', while a terrorist attack outside a London mosque left one person dead.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.62% to 20,067.75, as the yen lost ground against the greenback to last sit 0.09% behind at JPY 110.98.

Fresh data from Tokyo showed a 14.9% rise in exports from the country year-on-year for May, compared to the 16.1% Reuters-polled forecast.

The country's trade balance came in very different to expectations, at a deficit of JPY 203.4bn, compared to the forecast JPY 76bn surplus.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.7% at 3,145.02, while the smaller, technology-focussed Shenzhen Composite added 0.58% to 1,876.85.

New home prices data for May was released in China during the day, showing the price of a new home increased 10.4% during the month - just behind the 10.7% uptick seen in April.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.38% at 2,370.90, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong finished ahead 1.16% at 25,924.55.

Technology stocks were at the fore in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics adding 2.15%, while chipmaker SK Hynix improved 2.8%.

The increase in SK Hynix followed Nomura's maintaining of its 'buy' rating on the stock on Friday, as it also raised its target price to KRW 100,000 from KRW 60,500.

Nomura said there was now a lower risk of oversupply from the chip manufacturer, as the prospects for the company finalising a deal with ailing Japanese firm Toshiba were also better, according to analysts.

An attack on Muslim worshippers in the Finsbury Park area of London occurred during the Asian trading session, with the Metropolitan Police later confirming one man had been killed and they were treating it as a terrorist attack.

It's understood a rented van drove through a crowd outside a mosque just after midnight, as worshippers would have been leaving in droves after the Taraweeh - nightly prayers during Ramadan.

Staying in the UK, traders were also keeping a watchful eye on the beginning of Brexit talks between the United Kingdom Government and the 27 remaining members of the European Union, which were due to start later on Monday.

Oil prices were lower during the Asian session, with Brent crude last up 0.42% at $47.57 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate adding 0.53% to $44.98.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.54$ higher by the close, at 5,805.17, with the weighty financials subindex and the utilities sector underpinning the benchmark.

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was ahead 0.5% at 7,592.03, led higher by dairy darling A2 Milk, which rocketed 5.7% after it lifted its annual sales guidance for the second time in two months last week.

It was a mixed picture for the down under dollars, with the Kiwi last strengthening 0.32% to NZD 1.3747 against the greenback, while the Aussie lost 0.15% to last sit at AUD 1.3144.

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