Asian markets: Shanghai Composite volatile despite positive US economic data and dovish Fed minutes
Asian stock market indices traded mixed on Thursday, 7 July 2016Reuters

While most Asian stock markets were showing a mixed performance on Thursday (7 July), the Shanghai Composite Index was trading higher by 0.03% at 3,018.07 as of 6.41am GMT. This followed a positive close overnight on Wall Street amid encouraging economic data and dovish US Federal Reserve's minutes.

US data for June showed that the country's services sector grew by the fastest pace in seven months spurred by new orders and an increase in hiring by companies. Chris Weston, chief market strategist at brokerage firm IG, was quoted by CNBC as saying: "Calmer heads seem to have prevailed in the US and we are once again seeing a situation where the US economy is seemingly looking OK, while the UK and Europe are showing increasing signs of fragility."

On investors' concerns over changes to US interest rates, Weston said: "If we went off this report alone, then the Federal Reserve would be putting rates up today, but that is clearly not the case with the May trade balance and dovish (yet largely redundant) set of FOMC minutes keeping the growth bulls in check."

The minutes of the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting noted that it would wait for the outcome of the Brexit vote before making any changes to its monetary policy. This indicated that interest rates in the world's largest economy would remain at current levels.

Indices in the rest of Asia traded as follows on 7 July at 6.25am GMT:

CountryIndexPriceUp/Down%Change
Hong KongHang Seng Index20,672.85Up0.87%
JapanNikkei 22515,276.24Down0.67%
South KoreaKOSPI1,974.08Up1.07%
IndiaCNX Nifty8,328.35Down0.09%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,227.90Up0.58%

Overnight (6 July), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,918.62, up 0.44% while the FTSE 100 closed at 6,463.59, down 1.25%.

Among commodities, oil prices declined amid expectations that there would be a sharp decline in crude inventory, according to report. While WTI crude oil was trading higher by 0.38% at $47.61 (£36.70, €42.94) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 0.29% higher at $48.94 a barrel at 6.33am GMT.