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Japan Market close for Vernal Equinox Day holiday
Mar 20,2017

Japan Markets, banks, businesses and government offices closed on Monday, 17 March 2017, for Vernal Equinox Day holiday.

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Australia Shares slips as financials, energy drag on index
Mar 20,2017

Australian equity market finished session down on Monday, 20 March 2017, due to an uninspired lead from US markets on Friday and worries over global trade protectionism after financial leaders of the worlds biggest economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open. ASX Sectors were mostly down, with financials, real estate, and energy stocks leading the losses. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index surrendered 20.7 points, or 0.36%, to 5,778.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index backtracked 20.3 points, or 0.35%, to 5,820.5. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 631 to 453 and 359 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 5.43% to 10.274.

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US stocks ended week on a lower note
Mar 20,2017

U.S. stocks edged lower on Friday, 17 March 2017 but managed to post moderate weekly gains with investors awaiting further catalysts before jumping back into the market. Trading on Friday was calm despite the so-called quadruple witching, as stock-index futures, stock-index options, stock options and individual stock futures all expire on the same day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 19.93 points, or 0.1%, to close at 20,914.62, while the S&P 500 index shed 3.13 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 2,378.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose less than a quarter point to end at 5,901.

For the week, the Dow rose fractionally while the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite notched a weekly gain of 0.7%.

The financial sector saw some belated selling pressure in the wake of this weeks FOMC meeting as investors tried to sort out how the Feds future outlook for interest rates will bake into the industrys bottom line. The financial sector dropped 1% with Goldman Sachs Group down 1.7% and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. off 1.1%.

The Fed on Wednesday lifted benchmark interest rates by a quarter-point as widely expected. The central banks statement and forecasts for future rate increases was seen as less aggressive than had been anticipated. That put some pressure on the dollar.

In the latest economic data, industrial production was flat in February, below expectations for a rise of 0.3%. Separately, the index of consumer sentiment rose to 97.6 in March from 96.3 in February, based on a preliminary reading by the University Michigan. This was slightly below the reading of 98 that had been expected.

Separately, the Conference Board said its leading economic index rose 0.6% in February, the third straight gain of that magnituden++to reach its highest level in more than a decade.

Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Friday, 17 March 2017. Gold futures ended higher on Friday, helping the yellow metal record its highest weekly climb since early February, as weakness in the U.S. dollar, following Wednesdays Federal Reserve decision, provided a runway for gains.

April gold rose $3.10, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,230.20 an ounce, which marks it highest finish since early March. Gold gained about 2.4% for the week. Silver for May delivery added 8.3 cents, or 0.5%, to $17.413 an ounce, for a weekly gain of 2.9% n++ its best since early January.

A measure of the dollars strength, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index looked to end the week about 1.1% lower. Weakness in the buck can make assets priced in the currency, like gold, more appealing to those using other monetary units to buy it.

Crude oil settled a few pennies higher on Friday, 17 March 2017 to tally a weekly gain, even as data showed a significant increase in the number of active U.S. oil rigs, implying the potential for a further climb in domestic crude production.

April West Texas Intermediate crude rose 3 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $48.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude on Londons ICE Futures Exchange rose 2 cents to $51.76 a barrel.

Data from Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil continued the streak of increases that began in mid-January, but the report came on the heels of the first weekly fall for domestic crude stockpiles in 10 weeks. On Friday, Baker Hughes data showed number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 14 to 631 rigs this weekn++their ninth straight week of gains.

In the Treasury market, U.S. sovereign debt extended its week-to-date gain on Friday, leaving the benchmark 10-yr yield four basis points lower at 2.50%. For the week, the 10-yr yield lost eight basis points as investors relished in the Feds more dovish than expected rate projections.

Investors will not receive any economic data on Monday.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks largely up
Mar 17,2017

Asia Pacific share market closed mostly higher on Friday, 17 March 2017, as risk sentiment improves after the US Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, as expected, and signalled a less hawkish stance on future rate rises. The Fed also indicated it would stick to its previous forecast of two additional rate rises for the rest of this year, defying market expectations for more aggressive tightening. MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.4%.

Overnight, Wall Street was subdued following strong gains after the Feds rate decision. The Nasdaq was flat, while the Dow and the S&P 500 posted losses. But European shares were upbeat following the election victory of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who defeated anti-immigration, anti-European Union rival Geert Wilders.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Shares close higher on financials

Australian equity market finished higher for fourth straight session, thanks to rise in financial stocks after two of the Big Four banks increased their mortgage rates. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 13.80 points, or 0.24%, of 5,799.60, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 13.30 points, or 0.23%, to 5,840.80. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 592 to 500 and 313 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 7.99% to 9.745.

National Australia Bank raised interest rates on residential investment loans by 25 basis points to 5.80% on Thursday, while Westpac Banking said on Friday it would increase its variable home loan rate for owner occupiers by 3-8 basis points. Westpac Banking closed 1.1% higher, while National Australia Bank ended up 0.5%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 0.3% and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group picked up 0.2%.

On the other hand, shares of material and energy sector were down on profit booking. Woodside Petroleum rose 0.6%, while Oil Search and Santos each fell 0.3%, and Origin Energy dropped 2.2%. Energy and mining company BHP Billiton was down 1.1% and Fortescue Metals Group lost 1.9%, while Rio Tinto was up 1.1%.

Department-store retailer Myer jumped 5.1%, rebounding from Thursdays fall with the release of first-half earnings. Supermarket operator Woolworths closed at its lowest in nearly two weeks, while Wesfarmers closed 0.2% down.

Nikkei falls 0.35%

The Japan share market finished lower, on tracking weak lead from Wall Street overnight and on caution ahead of the Group of Twenty gathering of financial ministers and central bankers in Germany. But the markets downside was supported by the dollars stability versus the yen as well as expectations for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan. The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 68.55 points, or 0.35%, to finish at 19,521.59. The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 6.84 points, or 0.43%, at 1,565.85. Financial markets and government offices will be closed for a national holiday on Monday.

Auto stocks led the declines. Subaru marker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. lost 1.8% to Y4,349. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. fell 1.9% to Y706.

Oil companies JX Holdings, Inpex and Japex met with selling on a drop in New York crude oil futures on Thursday.

Drug makers Astellas, Daiichi Sankyo and Shionogi were downbeat after their U.S. peers lost ground in New York overnight.

By contrast, game maker Nintendo, industrial robot maker Fanuc and camera maker Canon attracted purchases.

Toshiba was also upbeat with investors taking heart from a news report that a consortium, including state-owned Development Bank of Japan and a U.S. investment firm, will be among bidders in an auction of the struggling electronics giants flash memory business.

Nintendo Co. rose 1.7% to Y25,580 following news that the company has decided at least to double its planned production of the Switch console in the year ending March 2018 owing to strong demand.

Toshiba Corp. gained 3.5% to Y190.1 after local media reports that the government-owned Development Bank of Japan is considering taking a stake in the beleaguered companys memory-chip business, which would bolster Toshibas financial footing.

China Stocks drop as yuan borrowing costs surge

The Mainland China equity market ended down, snapping a four-day winning streak, amid tight market liquidity as the cost for mainland Chinese banks to borrow yuan from each other surged after the Chinese central bank tightened interest rates. he benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down 1% to finish at 3,237.45. The large-cap CSI 300 Index fell 1% to 3,445.81. The Shenzhen Component Index was also 1% lower at 10,515.41. The Nasdaq-style ChiNext retreated 0.8% to 2,029.73.

The overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), a measure of the yuans borrowing cost among commercial banks, jumped 19.2 basis points on Friday to 2.633%. The one-month and one-year Shibor rates also rose 5.57 basis points and 1.94 basis points respectively, reaching 4.2775% and 4.1246%.

The surge in borrowing costs came after the Peoples Bank of China followed the Feds action and raised money market rates on Thursday, a move widely regarded by investors as trying to reduce the interest rate differential between China and the US, stave off capital outflows, and stabilise the exchange rate.

The central bank tried to soothe jitters by saying the interbank rate increase did not point to any change in its monetary policies and was not tantamount to a hike in its benchmark policy rate. But analysts said the rate moves, more of which are expected, will eventually translate into higher borrowing costs for Chinese companies and consumers.

For the day, most sectors lost ground, dragged down by material plays and by banking stocks, as higher borrowing costs typically pressure rate-sensitive sectors such as property and banking. Car makers also weakened broadly, with Great Wall Motor down 3.8% to 12.39 yuan, and SAIC Motor off 2.5% to 24.37 yuan.

Hong Kong Stocks end at 19-month high

The Hong Kong stock market extended their rally, closing at 19-month high, on improved sentiment after the US Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, as expected, and signalled a less hawkish stance on future rate rises. The Fed also indicated it would stick to its previous forecast of two additional rate rises for the rest of this year. The Hang Seng Index ticked up 0.1% or 21.65 points to end at 24,309.93, after rising to a 19-month high on Thursday. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or H-shares index, dipped 0.1% or 12.94 points to close at 10,513.52. Turnover increased to HK$121.3 billion, the highest in 19 months, from HK$102.2 billion on Thursday. Twenty-five stocks rose and 17 fell among the 50 blue chips, with eight stocks remaining unchanged. For the week, the Hang Seng Index gained 3.1%.

Casino shares were up amid optimism over improving revenues from gaming and non-gaming operations in Macau. MGM China jumped 5.3% and Wynn Macau added 2.4%. Sands China added 1% to HK$35.10 after announcing a final dividend of HK$1.

Chinese auto makers, which soared earlier on robust fund buying, fell across the board, after Credit Suisse said China passenger vehicle wholesales sales growth decelerated to 6% in the first two weeks of March. Geely Auto (00175) plunged 10% to HK$11.24 and Great Wall Motor (02333) dived 8.9% to HK$8.84 on speculation a sales promotion on sports utility vehicles by the latter would spark a competitive price war in the segment and hit industry profitability. GAC Group (02238) sank 10% to HK$12.36. Dongfeng Motor (00489) pounded 3.4% to HK$8.93. BYD (01211) declined 1.3% to HK$44.4.

Nifty hits record closing high

Key benchmark indices closed with small gains on the final trading session of the week as reports suggesting that the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council cleared all legislations required for launching GST regime from July supported gains on the bourses. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 63.14 points or 0.21% to settle at 29,648.99. The Nifty 50 index gained 6.35 points or 0.07% to settle at 9,160.05. The Sensex hit its highest closing level in more than two years.

Cigarette maker ITC jumped 4.85% to Rs 281.20 on media report that a foreign brokerage has maintained a buy rating on ITC with a 12-month target price of Rs 325. According to reports, the foreign brokerage stated that the Goods & Services Tax (GST) tax structure is likely to be a revenue-neutral outcome which comes as a big relief for ITC.

Meanwhile, several food and drink multinationals and trade groups reportedly met in recent weeks to discuss how to lobby more effectively against Indian proposals for higher taxes and stricter labelling rules on fatty or sugary foods. Prime Minister Narendra Modis administration has begun to look closely at policy proposals under discussion since at least 2015, raising concerns over the possible impact on the $57 billion sector.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries declined 0.59%. The company announced that one of the indirect subsidiaries of the company namely, Taro Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Canada) has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Thallion Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Canadian pharmaceutical corporation. The announcement was made during market hours today, 17 March 2017.

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Hong Kong Stocks end at 19-month high
Mar 17,2017

The Hong Kong stock market extended their rally, closing at 19-month high on Friday, 17 March 2017, on improved sentiment after the US Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, as expected, and signalled a less hawkish stance on future rate rises. The Fed also indicated it would stick to its previous forecast of two additional rate rises for the rest of this year. The Hang Seng Index ticked up 0.1% or 21.65 points to end at 24,309.93, after rising to a 19-month high on Thursday. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or H-shares index, dipped 0.1% or 12.94 points to close at 10,513.52. Turnover increased to HK$121.3 billion, the highest in 19 months, from HK$102.2 billion on Thursday. Twenty-five stocks rose and 17 fell among the 50 blue chips, with eight stocks remaining unchanged. For the week, the Hang Seng Index gained 3.1%.

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China Stocks drop as yuan borrowing costs surge
Mar 17,2017

The Mainland China equity market ended down on Friday, 17 March 2017, snapping a four-day winning streak, amid tight market liquidity as the cost for mainland Chinese banks to borrow yuan from each other surged after the Chinese central bank tightened interest rates. he benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down 1% to finish at 3,237.45. The large-cap CSI 300 Index fell 1% to 3,445.81. The Shenzhen Component Index was also 1% lower at 10,515.41. The Nasdaq-style ChiNext retreated 0.8% to 2,029.73.

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Nikkei falls 0.35%
Mar 17,2017

The Japan share market finished lower on Friday, 17 March 2017, on tracking weak lead from Wall Street overnight and on caution ahead of the Group of Twenty gathering of financial ministers and central bankers in Germany. But the markets downside was supported by the dollars stability versus the yen as well as expectations for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan. The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 68.55 points, or 0.35%, to finish at 19,521.59. The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 6.84 points, or 0.43%, at 1,565.85. Financial markets and government offices will be closed for a national holiday on Monday.

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Australia Shares close higher on financials
Mar 17,2017

Australian equity market finished higher for fourth straight session on Friday, 17 March 2017, thanks to rise in financial stocks after two of the Big Four banks increased their mortgage rates. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 13.80 points, or 0.24%, of 5,799.60, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 13.30 points, or 0.23%, to 5,840.80. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 592 to 500 and 313 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 7.99% to 9.745.

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US stocks end mostly lower
Mar 17,2017

U.S. stocks retreated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 to close lower, giving back some of the previous days Federal Reserve-inspired gains as a fall for health-care and utilities stocks pushed the market into negative territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 15.55 points, or less than 0.1%, to finish at 20,934.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index turned positive in the final minutes of trading, and finished up 0.71 points at 5,900.76. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.16% finished down 3.88 points, or 0.2%, at 2,381.38.

Utilities led losing sectors. The financials, tech, consumer-discretionary and consumer staples sectors finished fractionally higher out of the broad-market benchmarks 11 sectors.

Shares of DuPont declined 1.1%, Chevron Corp. shares slid 0.9%, and Merck & Co.shares fell 0.8%.

The Fed on Wednesday, as expected, lifted its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.75% to 1%. It also stuck to its forecast for just two more rate hikes this year, even as some economists thought the central bank would signal it was ready to pick up the pace of rate hikes. Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar. Stock markets rallied on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter-point. The central banks anticipated path of future rate increases was seen as less hawkish than expected by market participants, giving a boost to equities.

The ICE Dollar Index fell 0.3% on Thursday, building on a roughly 1.2% slump from Wednesday.

Among economic data expected on Thursday, weekly jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 241,000 in mid-March, as layoffs remained near the lowest level in decades, in line with expectations. Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphias monthly index on regional manufacturers fell to 32.8 in March from 43.3 in Februaryn++the highest reading in 33 years.

News from Washington did little to encourage the notion that tax reform will be a quick and easy process; President Trumps proposed budget was met with resistance and three House Republicans voted against the GOP health care bill in a committee vote, casting doubt on the legislations chances on the floor of the House.

Bullion metals jumped across the board on Thursday, 16 March 2017 with gold prices notching their highest finish in two weeks, on the heels of the dollars decline, which came after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates, but struck a less hawkish tone than expected.

April gold rallied $26.40, or 2.2%, to settle at $1,227.10 an ounce, with prices ending at their highest level since March 2. The metal scored its biggest one-day percentage gain since June of last year. That is when the U.K. announced its decision to exit from the European Union. Silver jumped 40.7 cents, or 2.4%, to finish at $17.33 an ounce, marking its highest dally percentage gain since January.

Oil prices finished with a modest loss on Thursday, 16 March 2017, a day after a big rally, as rising output from the U.S. remained a threat to efforts by other major producers to rebalance the market. Still, prices continued to find some support following data on Wednesday showing the drop in U.S. crude supply in 10 weeks, as well as weaker dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserves less-hawkish-than-expected rate announcement.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April delivery edged down by 11 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $48.75 a barrel after rallying by 2.4% on Wednesday. May Brent crude shed 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $51.74 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

On Friday, investors will receive February Industrial Production (consensus 0.2%) at 9:15 ET, while February Leading Indicators (consensus 0.5%) and the University of Michigan Sentiment Index for March (consensus 96.8) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

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US stocks rally following Feds rate hike
Mar 16,2017

U.S. stocks climbed higher on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time since December 2015. The Fed increased its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, noting that headline inflation is n++moving closen++ to its 2% target. The major averages started the day in the green thanks to a bullish sentiment in the crude oil market and climbed to new session highs in the afternoon following the FOMC decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.73 points, or 0.5%, to end at 20,950.10. The S&P 500 index advanced 19.81 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 2,385.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 43.23 points, or 0.7%, to 5,900.05.

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the fed funds target range by 25 basis points to 0.75%-1.00% on Wednesday. More notably, the Fed still believes that three rate hikes are appropriate for 2017, relieving investors fears that the central bank could begin setting the groundwork for a fourth hike.

The ICE U.S. dollar index extended its decline following the news, which had been widely expected. A weaker greenback tends to provide support for dollar-denominated commodities.

Economic data released on Wednesday showed the Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in February, the smallest increase since last summer. Separately, retail sales rose 0.1% in February.

Economic data also showed that the Empire Manufacturing Survey for March rose to 16.4 from the prior months reading of 18.7. The consensus estimate was pegged at 14.5. The NAHB Housing Market Index for March rose to 71 (consensus 65) from an unrevised reading of 65 in February. Business Inventories rose 0.3% in January, which is in line with the consensus. The prior months reading was left unrevised at 0.4%.

Crude oil prices ended their long losing streak on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 as a drop in the dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserves decision to raise interest rates, as expected, fed an earlier rebound. Oil futures had been on the rise after U.S. government data showed the first decline for domestic-crude stockpiles in 10 weeks.

April West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.14, or 2.4%, to settle at $48.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after seven straight session losses. It touched highs above $49 following the Fed news, which came about a half-hour before the settlement. May Brent crude on the ICE Futures exchange in London gained 89 cents, or 1.8%, to $51.81 a barrel.

Early Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude-oil supplies fell 200,000 barrels from a record level to total 528.2 million barrels for the week ended March 10. Market had forecast a climb of 3.5 million barrels. The supply decline came even as the EIA reported U.S. crude output rose 21,000 barrels to 9.109 million barrels a day. Meanwhile, gasoline supplies fell by 3.1 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles dropped 4.2 million barrels last week.

Gold futures settled with a loss on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 while silver ended flat. Gold climbed up in post electronic tradingbuoyed by a fall in the U.S. dollar following the Federal Reserves decision to increase interest rates, as expected. Expectations for higher rates had already been generally dollar-positive and gold-negative as a richer buck makes gold less attractive to investors using another currency.

Gold for April delivery fell $1.90, or 0.2%, to finish at $1,200.70 an ounce. It was trading higher at $1,210.50 in electronic trading shortly after the Fed announcement, which followed the price settlement. May silver settled flat at $16.923 an ounce.

U.S. Treasuries spiked across the board in the wake of the FOMCs decision to tighten monetary policy. The benchmark 10-yr yield, which moves inversely to the price of the 10-yr Treasury note, finished ten basis points lower at 2.51%. Meanwhile, the 2-yr yield, which is more vulnerable to short-term interest rate hikes, lost seven basis points to finish at 1.31%.

Tomorrows economic data will include February Housing Starts (consensus 1.260 million), Initial Claims (consensus 242,000), and March Philadelphia Fed (consensus 25.0) at 8:30 ET.

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Japan Jan Factory Output Revised Up
Mar 16,2017

Japans Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released revised industrial production data on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, showing industrial production fell a revised 0.4% in January compared to the previous month, an upward revision from the preliminary 0.8% drop reported last month, but it still marked the first drop in six months following a 0.7% gain in December. The Index of Industrial Production (100 in 2010) remained relatively high at 100.2 (revised up from 99.8), with output up a revised 3.7% (vs. a preliminary +3.2%) from a year earlier, the third straight rise.

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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks down ahead of Fed rate call
Mar 15,2017

Headline equities of Asia Pacific market closed mixed on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, as wait-and-see mood prevailed prior to the major events, including the U.S. Federal Reserves announcement of its monetary policy decision later on Wednesday following a two-day meeting and the Netherlands hold a general election.

. A wait-and-see mood weighed on stock markets globally ahead of key events, including the U.S. Federal Reserves monetary policy decision later on Wednesday after a two-day meeting. Speculation has grown that Fed officials could accelerate the pace of rate increases because President Donald Trumps possible tax cuts and infrastructure projects could overheat the economy. A faster pace of interest-rate increases could cool U.S. economic activity and weigh on stock markets globally. A rate increase is widely expected this time, but market participants are trying to understand how quickly Fed officials are planning to raise rates further.

Market sentiment tilted toward risk aversion somewhat after the latest opinion polls ahead of the Netherlands general election, scheduled for Wednesday, suggested an increase in support for the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV).

The price of oil dropped as much as 2.7% Tuesday after OPEC data showed Saudi Arabia raised its production to more than 10 million barrels a day.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Stocks edge higher

Australian equity market finished marginal higher after recouping early losses late afternoon, thanks to gains in the material and resources stocks. At the close, the S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session up 0.3%, or 14.86 points, at 5,774.

Shares of material sector performed strongly, led by BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group, which rose 1.5% and 5.7%, respectively, as iron ore futures in China surged more than five%, after steel prices rose to a three-year high on hopes for strong demand.

Real estate stocks also ended higher with GPT Group gaining 3.1% and Viva Energy Reit closing 5% higher.

Nikkei falls 0.16%

The Japan share market finished lower on tracking sluggish lead from overseas equities overnight and on cautious ahead of the Federal Reserves interest-rate decision due later in the day. But the markets downside was limited thanks partly to expectations for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan. Tokyos Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.16%, or 32.12 points, to end the day at 19,577.38, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.23%, or 3.59 points, at 1,571.31.

Mining, oil and coal products were the worst-performing sectors among 33 Topix subindexes amid renewed selling in crude oil. Oil explorer Inpex lost 1.4% to 1,106.0 yen. Oil distributor JX Holdings dropped 1.7% to Y547.8. Steel makers JFE Holdings and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, as well as Sumitomo Chemical and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, were downbeat, tracking the weak performance of their U.S. peers on the New York market overnight.

Toshiba tumbled 12% to Y189.5 after Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said late Tuesday the company is considering a bankruptcy filing for its troubled U.S. nuclear affiliate. Also, the Tokyo Stock Exchange placed Toshiba shares under special supervision, a heightened warning to investors that the stock could be delisted.

Kyushu Electric Power dropped 8.0% to Y1,147 after the company said it would issue convertible bonds, raising concerns about possible dilution.

China Stocks end roughly flat

Headline equities of the Mainland China market ended little higher, as market activity was quiet ahead of key events including a U.S. monetary policy decision and Premier Li Keqiangs press conference at the end of Chinas annual parliamentary meeting. Sector performance was mixed, with transportation and material shares rising, while real estate and banking shares lost ground. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2%, to 3,463.64 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,241.76 points.

Traders said there were few surprises from Premier Li Keqiangs news conference at the end of the annual meeting of Chinas parliament. Li offered reassurances about Chinas economy, saying forecasts of a hard landing should stop. While acknowledging the economy faces internal and external risks, he said the country has many policy tools to cope with them. He also stressed that Beijing does not want to see a trade war with the United States and urged talks between both sides to achieve common ground.

The indexes have been trapped in a narrow range over the past month, with investors conflicted by signs of economic strength and lingering doubts over whether the recovery, bolstered mainly by government stimulus, is sustainable.

Sector performance was mixed. Gains were led by infrastructure and material shares, which gained support from the continued strength of commodities, while financial plays lost ground.

Hong Kong Stocks down

The Hong Kong stock market closed slight lower, weighed down by tracking sluggish overseas equities overnight and on caution ahead of key events including a U.S. monetary policy decision. But, loses were capped after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference that Beijing does not want to see a trade war with the U.S., and reiterated its stance that relations between the two countries hinge on adherence to the One China policy. Sector performance was mixed, with energy shares leading the decline as lower oil prices dragged down the sector. At the close, the Hang Seng Index finished down 0.2% or 35.1 points at 23,792.85. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-shares index, retreated 0.4% or 42.4 points to 10,272.83. Turnover increased slightly to HK$73.2 billion from HK$72 billion on Tuesday. Sixteen stocks rose and 32 fell among the 50 blue chips, with two stocks remaining unchanged.

Oil majors were all weaker because of falling oil prices. CNOOC (00883) fell 1% to HK$8.81. PetroChina (00857) was down 0.5% to HK$5.66. Sinopec (00386) declined 0.7% to HK$5.81.

Property counters were lower despite analysts believe that HK banks will not follow suit the Feds rate hike this time. CK Property (01113) softened 0.2% to HK$51.6. Henderson Land (00012) slipped 0.6% to HK$45.55. Sino Land (00083) dipped 0.5% to HK$13.04. But Wheelock (00020) soared 5.2% to HK$60.2, while Wharf (00004) put on 1.6% to HK$68.7.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (00388) added 1.4% to HK$194.7 after Premier Li said at a press conference that China will allow overseas funds to buy onshore bonds in transactions carried out in Hong Kong.

Indian Market close with small losses

Key benchmark indices settled with small losses after a range-bound and lacklustre session of trade. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, lost 44.52 points or 0.15% to settle at 29,398.11. The Nifty 50 index shed 2.20 points or 0.02% to settle at 9,084.80. Investors maintained caution ahead of the Federal Reserves outcome of the policy meet later in the day. Profit booking materialised after domestic bourses posted strong gains in the previous session, which saw Nifty hitting record high. The domestic data showing rise in consumer inflation in February also weighed on sentiment.

Stocks of public sector banks gained. Stocks of private sector banks were mixed. IT stocks declined as rupee strengthened against the dollar.Tata Power Company rose after Tata Power Solar, wholly owned subsidiary of the company announced a significant expansion and modernisation of its cell and module manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. Bharat Heavy Electricals edged higher after the company said that it has commenced commercial operation of its first 800 megawatts supercritical thermal power plant in Raichur.

JSW Steel inched up after the company said its crude steel production rose 25% to 12.65 lakh tonnes in February 2017 over February 2016. Reliance Communications advanced after the company said it received approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), BSE and National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) for the proposed scheme of arrangement for demerger of the wireless division of the company into Aircel and Dishnet Wireless.

The all-India general CPI inflation increased to 3.65% in February 2017, compared with 3.17% in January 2017. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 3.67% and urban area was 3.55% in February 2017 as against 3.36% and 2.9% in January 2017. The core CPI inflation rose to 5% in January 2017 from 4.83% in December 2016. The data was announced after market hours yesterday, 14 March 2017.

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Hong Kong Stocks down on Wednesday
Mar 15,2017

The Hong Kong stock market closed slight lower on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, weighed down by tracking sluggish overseas equities overnight and on caution ahead of key events including a U.S. monetary policy decision. But, loses were capped after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference that Beijing does not want to see a trade war with the U.S., and reiterated its stance that relations between the two countries hinge on adherence to the One China policy. Sector performance was mixed, with energy shares leading the decline as lower oil prices dragged down the sector. At the close, the Hang Seng Index finished down 0.2 per cent or 35.1 points at 23,792.85. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or the H-shares index, retreated 0.4 per cent or 42.4 points to 10,272.83. Turnover increased slightly to HK$73.2 billion from HK$72 billion on Tuesday. Sixteen stocks rose and 32 fell among the 50 blue chips, with two stocks remaining unchanged.

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China Stocks end roughly flat on Wednesday
Mar 15,2017

Headline equities of the Mainland China market ended little higher on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, as market activity was quiet ahead of key events including a U.S. monetary policy decision and Premier Li Keqiangs press conference at the end of Chinas annual parliamentary meeting. Sector performance was mixed, with transportation and material shares rising, while real estate and banking shares lost ground. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2%, to 3,463.64 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,241.76 points.

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Nikkei falls 0.16% on Wednesday
Mar 15,2017

The Japan share market finished lower on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, on tracking sluggish lead from overseas equities overnight and on cautious ahead of the Federal Reserves interest-rate decision due later in the day. But the markets downside was limited thanks partly to expectations for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan. Tokyos Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.16%, or 32.12 points, to end the day at 19,577.38, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.23%, or 3.59 points, at 1,571.31.

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