HONG KONG: Energy stocks rose on Tuesday after oil prices climbed overnight but most Asian markets sank despite a strong lead from Wall Street.
Tokyo tumbled after a sharp rally in the yen and disappointing growth figures hit sentiment, while Shanghai fell after jumping Monday on hopes a scheme to link trading on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong bourses would be announced soon.
Seoul, Sydney and Bangkok were also down.
But bucking the trend were energy shares, which gained as oil prices held above $45 a barrel despite easing in Asian trade.
Oil had risen overnight after Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying that his country was working with Saudi Arabia to achieve oil market stability.
Saudi’s oil minister had already hinted last week that producers could agree to limit output at an informal meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Algeria next month.
“What we are seeing in the oil market is an effective jawboning by the Saudis, talking up the prospects of an OPEC deal to move the oil price up,” Angus Nicholson, a strategist at IG Markets, said in a note.
Refiner JX Holdings in Tokyo rose just over one percent, while Sydney-listed Santos gained 2.5 percent and Sinopec in Hong Kong added 1.6 percent.
Mining giant BHP Billiton closed 0.5 percent higher in Sydney before it reported an annual net loss of $6.39 billion, its worst-ever result after being hit by the impact of a fatal mine dam disaster in Brazil and weak commodity prices.
Trading in other sectors was largely subdued.
Tokyo fell 1.6 percent after a rally in the yen against the dollar. The yen’s rise is a negative for Japanese exporters, making them less competitive overseas and denting profits.
It also came on top of below-par data Monday showing growth in the world’s number three economy was flat during the April-June period.