Asia stocks drop as oil tumbles; Nikkei off 3.4% after quake – CNBC

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Elsewhere, the Australian dollar retreated to $0.7680 in the evening local time, after climbing during the previous session to $0.7719 on the back of slightly improved Chinese economic data released Friday. China is a key export market for Australia and the Aussie tends to move in tandem to the mainland economy.

But the drop in oil prices dented interest in the Aussie dollar.

“The collapse of the oil production freeze summit has caused a wave of selling across the commodity block currencies,” Stephen Innes, senior foreign exchange trader at OANDA, said in a note Monday.

Australian resources producers were mixed, with shares of Fortescue advancing 2.3 percent, while Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were off 1.56 and 3.01 percent, respectively. Chinese mainland metal plays were also mostly lower, with shares of Baoshan Steel dropping 0.52 percent, while Yunnan Copper sold off 2.84 percent.

Metal commodities on the London Metal Exchange were mixed as of 4:25 p.m. HK/SIN time, with three-month copper off 0.61 percent, while three-month aluminium fell 0.32 percent. Three-month zinc advanced 0.53 percent.

Elsewhere, shares of Australian real estate business McGrath plunged 30.77 percent, after the company issued a profit warning. In an announcement on the ASX, the company said it expects to generate fiscal-2016 revenue of A$136 million to A$140 million, below levels forecast in its listing prospectus late last year.

The Chinese yuan was weaker against the dollar, with the dollar/yuan pair trading at 6.4793 in late afternoon local time. Before market open, the People’s Bank of China set the yuan mid-point at 6.4787. China’s central bank lets the yuan spot rate rise or fall a maximum of 2 percent against the dollar relative to the official fixing rate.

Data showed China’s home prices in March gained, with Reuters reporting average new home prices in 70 major cities rose 4.9 percent last month on-year, extending February’s 3.6 percent rise. Reuters said home prices in Shenzhen surged 61.6 percent on-year, while Shanghai prices gained 25 percent.

Mainland property stocks were mostly lower, with Poly Real Estate losing 2.11 percent.

U.S. stocks closed lower Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.16 percent, the S&P 500 off by 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq composite lower by 0.16 percent.

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Asia stocks drop as oil tumbles; Nikkei off 3.4% after quake – CNBC}