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Asian Stock Markets Trade Lower as Oil Prices Fall Again


Asian stock markets were trading largely lower on February 2 following a lackluster lead from the US overnight and as oil prices fell again.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.64% at 17,750.68 points.

Tokyo’s benchmark index closed up nearly 2% on February 1, its highest close since early January, after a surprise move by the Bank of Japan cut rates to -0.1%.

In Australia, energy-related stocks weighed on the market, hurt by oil price worries.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 shed 1%, dragged down by shares in energy giants including BHP, Woodside and Santos.Asian stock markets decline February 2016

Investors also reacted to a move by ratings agency S&P to lower its rating for BHP to “A” from “A+” due to falls in commodity prices, among other issues.

Shares in Woodside closed down 3.2%, Santos lost 4.26%, and BHP ended the trading day down 2.16%.

As widely expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its rates on hold on February 2 at a record low of 2%, where they have been since May 2015.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.81% at 19,441.95 in afternoon trade, while the Shanghai Composite was bucking the regional trend to be up 1.93% to 2,741.39.

South Korea’s Kospi index closed down 1% to 1,906.60, in line with the rest of the region.