(Yicai Global) April 16 -- Asian stock markets were generally calm across the board today, despite US-led military action against Syria over the weekend and Washington’s threat of further sanctions against Russia. Hong Kong and Shanghai traded lower.
At the close of trading, the Nikkei 225 had gained 0.26 percent in Japan, South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index had risen 0.1 percent, Australia’s All Ordinaries was up 0.14 percent, while the index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange had slipped 0.1 percent.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index and the China A-Share Index experienced sharp falls, with the Hang Seng off 1.6 percent and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index down 1.53 percent for the day. China’s GEM Index managed to rebound in afternoon trading to close 0.77 percent higher.
The United States, Britain and France launched air strikes against chemicals research facilities and military targets in Syria at the weekend to deter Syria from any further use of chemical weapons, according to the White House. Meanwhile, Washington is preparing to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia over its support of the Syrian regime, Nikki R. Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said yesterday. The US treasury secretary will announce specific measures today.
Shares of United Co. Rusal Plc slumped to a record low in Hong Kong today after investors dumped the Russian aluminum producer’s stock in the wake of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration last week for alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016. Investors have since been bailing on the targeted Russian companies.
Rusal [HK:00486] fell 30 percent to close at HKD1.42 (USD0.18). The Moscow-based company’s shares began to slide after climbing to a high of HKD6.09 in Hong Kong in early February. Rusal has lost nearly 70 percent of its value since the close of trading on April 6.