Asian Market Update – Monday: Cryptocurrencies in muted trading; Asian stocks mixed on US tax reform

Shanghai morning

Litecoin and ethereum in consolidation, bitcoin continues to rally.

Recent price gains in the main cryptocurrencies appears to have slowed down Monday morning, after an astonishing run last week. As of midday in Asia, the price of bitcoin was slightly up, while ethereum and litecoin prices were in the red.

Bitcoin picked up 0.4 percent to about $11,335 at midday, offsetting a loss of more than $700 in US trading Sunday evening, when it fell sharply from about $11,780 to about $11,070, before surging back yet again.

Overall, bitcoin’s strong uptrend since November 13 is still intact, adding more than a 100 percent to its price since then.

Ethereum was 0.28 percent off at $463 at midday. The coin dropped more than $20 in early morning trading before surging back. Ethereum has seen some choppy trading in the past a few days since reaching an all-time high of about $508 on November 29.

Litecoin was down 0.29 percent to $100.91 at midday in Asia, slightly down from an all-time high of about $105. The coin has been quite steady around the $100 line since Saturday.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 22,774 -0.20%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,313 -0.12%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 29,227 0.53%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,483 0.32%
Australia-ASX 200 5,985 -0.07%
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures 2,660 0.65%

Major Asian equities markets were muted on Monday morning, while broader indexes showed larger gains in responding to the passage of a tax reform bill in the US Senate, that significantly improved prospects of a tax overhaul in the US.

The S&P 500 E-Mini Futures climbed 0.65 percent as of midday Monday to 2,660.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index posted a gain of 0.53 percent on Monday morning, after seeing its biggest weekly drop in a year last week. At market close on Friday, the benchmark fell 2.7 percent for the week, the largest loss since December 2016.

In South Korea, the Kospi edged up 0.32 percent to around 2,483 shortly after midday.

However, stocks saw minor losses in Japan, the Chinese mainland and Australia.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Index was down 0.2 percent to 22,774.

On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.12 percent to 3,313.

Down under, the ASX 200 was off 0.07 percent to 5,985 at midday.

Currencies

The Japanese yen lost 0.51 percent against the US dollar at midday Monday, changing hands at 112.73 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan was flat against the US dollar at 6.6130 per dollar.

The Australian dollar lost 0.18 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.3148 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was down 0.51 percent to $57.97 per barrel.

Brent Crude lost 0.33 percent to $63.40 per barrel.

Gold was 0.36 percent lower to $1,274 an ounce.

News across Asia

In China, artificial intelligence, the digital economy, and the internet of things have taken center stage at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, just outside Shanghai, which is attended by global tech leaders, including Apple’s Tim Cook and Alibaba’s Jack Ma.

Take away: At the annual event, the Chinese government stressed market openness to foreign firms, but also received strong criticism for restricting access to foreign websites in the country.

In Australia, officials said on Monday that they would investigate US tech firms Facebook and Google for allegedly disrupting traditional news media. The probe would focus on the business models of these companies to understand their influence in Australia.

Take away: This is bad news for the US tech giants, which have been facing strict scrutiny in the US, Europe and now in Australia for their increasingly dominant position in information distribution.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term trading.

Author:
Fredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.