Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Asian markets fall as wary investors await ECB news

Investors shying away from risk for time being

AFP/Getty Images
Asian investors are taking a breather and waiting for Thursday’s ECB news.

Stocks in Asia were mostly down Wednesday as investors shied away from risk amid a slump in commodities and oil prices.
The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -1.34%   sank 1.7%, weighed by losses in energy and basic materials shares. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.20%   fell 0.6%, hit by weakness in shares of oil producers.
Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.84%   lost 1.4% and Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.35%   was essentially flat. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.96%   rose 0.3%.
Investors were being cautious ahead of the European Central Bank monetary policy meeting Thursday. Analysts largely expect the central bank to ease policy, though some investors are concerned that a stimulus expansion could fall short of expectations.
“We’re seeing tepid trading as people are locking positions in place where they’re ready for tomorrow night,” said Evan Lucas, a market strategist for IG, an Australian brokerage. Such trades include shorting the euro and taking long positions in the yen and U.S. dollar, he added.
Brent crude-oil prices were last trading down 0.2% to $39.55 per barrel.
Write to Dominique Fong at

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