Asia: Iran election results and possible OPEC agreement keep market sentiments buoyant

The Hang Seng and S&P/ASX registered the day's strongest gains of 0.94% and 0.76%, respectively

The Shanghai Composite registered the sharpest decline with a decrease of 0.24% during midday trading hours.Reuters

Major Asian indices witnessed modest gains on Monday (April 22) after reformist Iranian President Hassan Rouhani secured a second term. Rouhani's willingness to open Iranian markets, and his success in securing a nuclear deal with global powers may be indicative of the nation's eventual legislative reforms.

With Iran in possession of one of the world's largest oil reserves, Rouhani's election could also signal a measure of confidence in the efficacy of negotiations between OPEC members. On Sunday, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al Fatih said that the OPEC oil supply cut could be further extended to nine months. Further details of such an agreement could emerge after the meeting between OPEC and Russia on Thursday.

With the growing possibility of an OPEC-led oil supply cut, the price of Brent Crude increased by 0.62% to $53.94 (£41.50) per barrel.

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The optimism surrounding oil prices has stifled investor anxiety surrounding US President Donald Trump's recent string of scandals. With Trump scheduled to visit Israel from Saudi Arabia, allegations against his ties with Russia will resurface once former FBI head James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee after Memorial Day (May 30).

The following index quotes were logged on 7:48am BST:

Japan: Nikkei- Up by 0.45% to 19,678.28

The Ministry of Finance revealed on Monday that Japan registered a third consecutive monthly merchandise trade surplus of ¥481.7bn on April, which fell by 40.6% in a year-on-year basis compared to April 2016. The figure also fell short of expectations around ¥520.7bn.

Multinational telecommunications and internet firm Softbank announced that it has raised $93bn in pledges for a major global fund, called Vision Fund, that would focus on high tech investments and adopt a long term perspective. The fund would be created in collaboration with Saudi partners, with Apple, Qualcomm, and Foxconn also involved in the project.

Toshiba (-1.08%) was one of the index's weakest performers.

Hong Kong: Hang Seng- Up by 0.94% to 25,412.26

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Financial services firms Ping An Insurance Group (+4%), China Life Insurance Co (+2.47%), and HSBC Holdings (+1.49%), registered particularly strong gains, along with Cathay Pacific Airways (+1.77%), and internet giant Tencent Holdings (+2.76%).

Li Ka-Shing owned Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (-0.60%) emerged as one of the index's weakest performers.

China: Shanghai Composite- Down by 0.24% to 3,083.107

Australia: S&P/ASX- Up by 0.79% to 5,772.699

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Singapore: Straits Times Index- Up by 0.17% to 3,222.40

India: Sensex- Up by 0.10% to 30,464.92

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