Asian stock markets lower as Australia bank disappoints, Greece debt deadline looms

Energy Associated Press

Asian stock markets were in the red on Wednesday, dented by weak earnings in Australia and doubts about Greece's ability to repay debts due to the IMF this month. Chinese markets turned lower after a brief rebound from the previous day's sell-off.

Continue Reading Below

___

KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3 percent to 2,104.58 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 2.3 percent to 5,692.20. Stocks in Southeast Asia were also lower. Chinese markets, which briefly rebounded from their biggest drop in months on Tuesday, failed to sustain the gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.3 percent to 27,653.06 and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.6 percent to 4,231.33. Japan was closed for a holiday.

___

THE QUOTE: "It's hard to get consistency in markets at the moment and equities have been very choppy in recent weeks," Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG, said in a commentary. "A consistent theme has been the sell-off in bond markets as equities now seem to be responding to this as well."

___

Continue Reading Below

GREECE: A standoff in talks between Greece and its lenders stoked worries in the markets. Top officials in the European Union said they are making progress on finding a way to keep the country afloat and in the 19-nation eurozone. Greece will have to scrounge for cash to make a 750 million euro repayment to the International Monetary Fund by May 12.

___

AUSSIE BANK: Bank stocks pulled down the broader index in Australia. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country's largest lender, plunged nearly 6 percent after reporting disappointing quarterly results.

___

WALL STREET: U.S. stock markets closed lower on Tuesday as an increase in oil prices expectations that inflation rates and interest rates would go up. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 1.2 percent to 2,089.46. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.8 percent to 17,928.20, while the Nasdaq composite fell 1.6 percent to 4,939.33.

___

US JOBS: U.S. payroll processor ADP is scheduled to report later Wednesday on how many jobs private employers added in April. In March, U.S. businesses slowed their pace of hiring. Analysts said they are expecting to see an improvement in last month's data.

___

YELLEN SPEECH: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks on "finance and society" at the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday. While markets are not expecting a big surprise in her speech, analysts will pay close attention to her language to find any signal about the timing of the Fed's first rate hike this year.

___

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.19 to $61.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil climbed above $60 a barrel for the first time this year on Tuesday following reports that a Libyan oil terminal had closed. The contract jumped $1.47 to finish at $60.40 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude added 77 cents to $68.29 a barrel in London.

___

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 119.74 yen from 119.93 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1228 from $1.1184.