Most Asia markets advance, with Nikkei rising as yen slips – CNBC

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In Asian hours, oil prices wavered between positive and negative territory. As of 3:28 p.m. HK/SIN time, U.S. crude futures were up 0.22 percent at $40.45 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent added 0.28 percent to $42.95.

Overnight, oil prices advanced ahead of the April 17 meeting of oil producers in Doha, Qatar, aimed at freezing current output levels. Brent futures added 2.12 percent and U.S. futures tacked on 1.6 percent.

Energy plays in Asia were mixed, with Santos closing down 0.51 percent, Woodside Petroleum ending flat and Japan’s Inpex adding 2.24 percent. Mainland Chinese oil plays were mixed, with Sinopec shedding 0.52 percent and PetroChina closing flat.

Metal plays in the region were mixed. Mining stocks in Australia were mostly up, with major miners Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue advancing between 2.11 and 3.86 percent. Chinese metal plays were mixed, with Baoshan Steel adding 0.85 percent and Aluminium Corp down 0.87 percent.

Overnight, on the London Metal Exchange, base metals closed mixed, with three month aluminum down 0.8 percent, zinc up 0.3 percent and copper up 0.3 percent, according to Reuters. During Asian hours, as of 3:30 p.m. HK/SIN time, the base metal prices were also mixed.

Major U.S. indexes closed lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.12 percent, the S&P 500 off by 0.27 percent and the Nasdaq composite declining by 0.36 percent.

Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note that the struggle for direction in U.S. equity markets reflected “a lack of conviction ahead of the ‘true’ start to the quarter earnings reporting season.”

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Most Asia markets advance, with Nikkei rising as yen slips – CNBC}