Asia markets mixed; Brent hits $50 for the first time in nearly 7 months – CNBC

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Across Asian markets, the energy sector saw gains as oil prices hit the $50-a-barrel mark for the first time since early November, but broader markets were mixed.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gave up most of its gains to close the session nearly flat, up just 0.09 percent at 16,772.46, while across the Korean Strait, the Kospi erased gains to finish down 3.45 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,957.06. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index ended up 0.14 percent, or 29.06 points, at 20,397.11.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 finished up 15.59 points, or 0.29 percent, at 5,388.10, with the energy sub-index advancing 1.96 percent.

Mainland Chinese markets turned positive in the final hour of trade, with the Shanghai composite retracing nearly 1 percent losses to close up 0.27 percent, or 7.49 points, at 2822.57, while the Shenzhen composite added 0.48 percent, or 8.70 points, to end at 1808.93.

Global benchmark Brent futures traded up 0.60 percent at $50.04 a barrel as of 3:40 p.m. HK/SIN, while U.S. crude futures were higher by 0.54 percent at $49.83.

Oil prices gained as much as 2 percent in the U.S. session, after government data showed a larger-than-expected drop in crude inventories. Reuters reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories fell 4.2 million barrels in the week to May 20. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a drop of 2.5 million barrels in inventory.

Energy plays in Asia closed mostly higher, with Santos shares advancing 4.91 percent, Woodside Petroleum adding 2.06 percent and Inpex gaining 2.55 percent. Chinese mainland oil stocks were mostly higher, with Sinopec adding 1.06 percent.

Asia markets mixed; Brent hits $50 for the first time in nearly 7 months – CNBC}