Asian stock markets were mostly firm and oil prices were steady, despite a second straight day of losses on Wall Street overnight. But analysts said it was too early to say risk sentiment was back after a day of heavy losses in Asia.

Other than on-going worries about the prospect of the U.S. tax reform plan and the pace of the Federal Reserve's rate hike, there were little market-moving headlines. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 % to 22,210.45 and South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.5 % to 2,531.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.4 % to 28,979.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 % to 5,943.50. But China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 % to 3,395.46. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

Analysts said the U.S. retail sales data and consumer prices figures gave a green light to the Fed to raise rates next month. U.S. retail sales rose 0.2 % in October, a healthy rate, and consumer prices rose 0.1 % last month. U.S. stock markets finished lower on Wednesday, led by a decline in tech stocks. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.6 % to 2,564.62. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.6 % to 23,271.28 and the Nasdaq composite slid 0.5 % to 6,706.21. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.5 % to 1,464.09.

Crude oil prices eked out a tiny gain. Benchmark U.S. crude added 1 cent to $55.34 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 37 cents, or 0.7 %, to settle at $55.33 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 10 cents to $61.97 per barrel in London. It lost 34 cents, or 0.5 %, to close at $61.87 a barrel on Wednesday. The dollar rose to 112.96 yen from 112.84 yen while the euro weakened to $1.1781 from $1.1790.

 

Stock Tip for the Day:

HSBC recommends buying Tencent Holdings Ltd

HSBC Says it is best in its class in entertainment in China

  • Impressive revenue growth due to gaming, video and payment
  • Strong momentum in video and game pipeline
  • They say it should get as high as HKD454 from where it is currently trading at HKD373