It was a bit of a herky-jerky morning for Asian stocks, colored by currency swings, optimism about the Korean Peninsula and a fresh slump in oil prices. Stock indexes in a number of markets were already swinging between gains and losses, including Japan, Hong Kong and China.
The Nikkei NIK, -0.09% finished the morning with a 5.52-point drop as the yen weakened and then rebounded. Meanwhile, benchmarks in South Korea SEU, +0.76% and Taiwan Y9999, +0.46% were higher throughout the morning.
Airlines and electronics stocks helped the Nikkei start on the right foot; ANA 9202, +2.20% was 2.2% higher. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electron 8035, +0.21% rose a further 1.5% and Sony 6758, +2.03% was up 2% as the dollar USDJPY, +0.04% climbed to ¥109.70. And as is the norm, falling Treasury yields were hitting Japanese life insurers, with Dai-ichi 8750, -1.02% off more than 1%.
Korea’s Kospi was up early, even with Samsung 005930, -0.76% pulling back to start the week as steelmaker Posco 005490, +3.61% and Korea Electric Power 015760, +3.07% each rebounded following Friday skids.
Malaysia’s stock benchmark ...