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Barring China's Shanghai Composite Index, all other Asian stock markets indices were trading lower on 17 February. The markets seemed to be taking a breather after posting gains over the last two trading sessions. This was despite a positive close on Wall Street and FTSE overnight.
Analysts at Barclays attributed the rise in US equities to "consumer discretionary, industrials and financials" with US core retail sales data published on Friday (12 February) exceeding expectations. However, Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at the National Australia Bank, said the positive Wall Street close overnight was because US indices were playing catch up after a long weekend, since it was closed on Monday (15 February) due to the President's Day holiday. "The global equity rally that began on Friday has started to show signs of fatigue," Catril added.
Indices in Asia traded as follows on 17 February at 6.05am GMT:
|China||Shanghai Composite Index||2,851.27||Up||0.52%|
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||19,037.72||Down||0.44%|
Meanwhile, overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,196.41, up 1.39%, while the FTSE 100 closed higher by 0.65% at 5,862.17 on 16 February.
Among commodities, oil prices got a boost after Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, and Russia, a big non-Opec producer and exporter, agreed to freeze production levels at an emergency meeting in Doha on 16 February. Following this, Opec members planned to persuade Iran to freeze its oil production levels. Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino and Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi have decided to travel to Tehran to discuss the matter with Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.
WTI crude oil was trading 0.62% higher at $29.22 (£20.43, €26.17) a barrel, while Brent was up 1.09% at $32.53 a barrel at 6.18am GMT on 17 February.