Asian shares unwound early gains on Wednesday, taking their cues from overseas gains, although investors are cautiously watching to see whether renewed selling in crude oil futures will dent sentiment.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan erased a positive start to edge down 0.1%, on track for a flat monthly performance and down 12% for the year.
US crude futures began Asian trading under pressure, and were last down 1.7% at $37.23 (nearly Rs 2,472.44). US crude and Brent jumped 3% overnight, taking back the ground lost in the previous session as colder weather forecasts raised expectations of more demand.
“After a strong US and European session, Asian markets are all looking for further gains on Wednesday,” Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne, said in a note to clients. The NewZealand dollar was down 0.3% at $0.6855, after it scaled a 10-week peak of $0.6881 in the previous session.
Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.6%, poised to gain over 9% for the year, though down more than 3% for December. But China’s blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 was down 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite Index. SSEC was flat, ahead of December manufacturing activity surveys which are expected to show the economy remains sluggish.
The dollar was steady at 120.47 yen, while the euro edged up 0.1% to $1.0928. Spot gold edged up about 0.2% to $1,070.61 an ounce, but remained poised to drop more than 9% for 2015 to log its third year of losses.