Asian Markets Retreat After OPEC Disappointment

Asian stock markets mostly closed lower on Friday, tracking the overnight plunge in crude oil prices. Investors also turned cautious following media reports that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, has come under FBI scrutiny in its Russia probe.

Crude oil futures plunged nearly 5 percent on Thursday after news that OPEC agreed to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018, while investors had been hoping for deeper production cuts.

Chinese stocks eked out slight gains to close higher for the third straight session. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 2.23 points or 0.07 percent to close at 3,110.06. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is down 7.28 points or 0.03 percent to 25,623.50.

The Japanese market closed lower, tracking the fall in crude oil prices and a stronger yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell 126.29 points or 0.64 percent to close at 19,686.84, slightly off a low of 19,686.49.

The major exporters mostly closed lower on a stronger yen. Toshiba edged down less than 0.1 percent, Panasonic lost more than 1 percent and Canon dipped 0.3 percent, while Sony rose 0.2 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota lost 0.7 percent and Honda fell 1.2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial slipped 0.9 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial declined 0.6 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex fell 2 percent and JXTG Holdings lost 0.2 percent after crude oil prices plunged overnight.

Australian shares closed lower for the first time in three days in a broad-based sell off. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 37.90 points or 0.65 percent to settle at 5,751.70 and the broader All Ordinaries Index lost 36.70 points or 0.63 percent to finish at 5,792.10.

Oil stocks declined after crude oil prices fell overnight. Oil Search dipped 1.6 percent, Santos lost 2 percent and Woodside Petroleum fell 2.7 percent.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton fell 2 percent, Rio Tinto declined 1.8 percent and Fortescue…

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