Asia stocks tepid, euro firm despite ‘fragmented’ E.U. vote

Asia markets remained tepid on Monday as stocks hovered closer to a four-month low. The lukewarm performance comes amid growing concerns regarding the uncertainties surrounding U.S.-China trade tensions.

The stock markets have a cloud overhang as investors become worried that the trade conflict between the United States and China is evolving into a tech war. But while Washington and Beijing appear set for a prolonged slog, attention is on the talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tokyo began marginally high, with the Nikkei average climbing 0.3% in the morning session. Chinese shares, which began higher on Monday, slipped as the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3%.

Hong Kong slipped 0.5% while the blue-chip CSI 300 declined 0.6%.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.17% or 3.56 points, at 2,048.87 as positive comments by Trump cooled investor concerns. The Korean won steadied as the benchmark bond yields gained.

Australian shares remained flat on Monday. This comes as banks continue to post extended losses that have offset the gains realized in the mining sector due to competitive pricing in the base metals sector.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which had lost 0.6% on Friday, edged higher on Monday. It moved up 2.5 points at 6,458.5.

In Singapore, stocks began Monday lower. The Straits Times Index dropped 0.87 points or 0.03% to 3169.02 in the morning.

Elsewhere, the euro edged just slightly higher at $1.1211. It maintained a very tight range of $1.2272-$1.2754 as a reaction to European parliament election results remained limited at the moment. However, much will be down to what happens with Brexit, Italy’s political situation and the upcoming Greece elections.

The pound edged 0.2% to $1.2731 after a rebound that saw it move away from its near five-month low of $1.2605 following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that she would resign.

The greenback against the yen was at 109.45, losing 0.1% on the day. The dollar index inched lower, dropping 0.1% to 97.567

Oil prices continue to be mixed as OPEC-led supply cuts keep markets comparatively tighter. The Brent, however, is below $70 per barrel as concerns lingered over trade tensions and on heightened rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran.