Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders continued to refrain from creating fresh long positions and are cautious ahead of the interest rate decisions from the US Fed, Bank of England and European Central Bank later in the week. Asian markets closed mostly lower on Monday.
The Fed is widely expected to slow the pace of interest rate hikes to 25 basis points, but traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for further rate hikes.
The Australian stock market modestly higher on Tuesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 moving to just a tad below the 7,500 level at nine-month highs, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains in financial and iron ore mining stocks partially offset by weakness in technology stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is gaining 4.70 points or 0.06 percent to 7,486.40, after touching a high of 7,516.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 1.30 points or 0.02 percent to 7,699.10. Australian stocks closed modestly lower on Monday.
Among the major miners, BHP Group is gaining almost 1 percent, Rio Tinto is advancing almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 1.5 percent, while Mineral Resources is losing more than 1 percent. OZ Minerals is flat.
Oil stocks are mostly weak. Origin Energy is edging up 0.1 percent, while Beach energy is losing more than 1 percent and Santos is edging down 0.5 percent. Woodside Energy is flat.
Among tech stocks, Appen is losing almost 1 percent, Afterpay owner Block is declining almost 3 percent and Zip is slipping more than 2 percent, while Xero is adding almost 1 percent and WiseTech Global is edging up 0.2 percent.
Gold miners are mostly lower. Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining are edging down 0.2 percent each, while Evolution Mining is losing almost 1 percent, Resolute Mining is slipping more than 3 percent and Gold Road Resources is declining almost 2 percent.
Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is gaining almost 1 percent, while Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent each.
In economic news, the value of retail sales in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent on month in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday – coming in at A$34.472 billion. That missed expectations for a decline of 0.3 percent following the 1.4 percent increase in November. On a yearly basis, retail sales climbed 7.5 percent.
The Reserve Bank of Australia said on Tuesday that private sector credit in Australia was up 0.3 percent on month in December, shy of expectations for 0.5 percent, which would have been unchanged. On a yearly basis, private sector credit climbed 8.3 percent.
In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.705 on Tuesday.
The Japanese stock market is slightly lower on Tuesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 27,400 level, following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, with weakness across most sectors, led by technology and financial stocks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 27,429.59, down 3.81 points or 0.01 percent, after hitting a low of 27,379.11 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Monday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is also down almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.3 percent and Toyota is flat.
In the tech space, Advantest and are losing more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are down almost 1 percent each.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing almost 1 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining more than 1 percent.
The major exporters are higher. Sony is gaining more than 1 percent, Panasonic is edging up 0.2 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 2 percent, while Canon is losing more than 2 percent.
Among the other major losers, there are no other major losers.
Conversely, Chubu Electric Power is surging almost 9 percent, while Sapporo Holdings, NEC and Tokyo Electric Power are adding more than 3 percent.
In economic news, The unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in December, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication said on Tuesday. That was in line with forecasts and unchanged from the November reading. The participation rate was 62.3 percent, missing forecasts for 62.4 percent, which would have been unchanged. The job-to-applicant ratio was 1.35, unchanged from the previous month but missing forecasts for 1.34.
Also, industrial output in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent on month in December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Tuesday. That beat expectations for a decline of 1.2 percent following the 0.2 percent increase in November. On a yearly basis, industrial production slumped 2.8 percent, missing forecasts for a fall of 2.0 percent following the 0.9 percent gain in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 130 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are lower by between 0.2 and 0.8 percent each. Singapore is bucking the trend and is up 0.2 percent. New Zealand is flat.
On the Wall Street, stocks kept falling right till the end of the day’s session on Monday after a weak start, as traders chose to lighten commitments ahead of a slew of earnings from tech firms, and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision.
The major averages all ended notably lower, with the tech-laden Nasdaq recording a sharp loss. The Dow ended down 260.99 points or 0.77 percent at 33,717.09, the S&P 500 settled lower by 52.79 points or 1.3 percent at 4,017.77, while the Nasdaq closed with a loss of 227.90 points or 1.96 percent at 11,393.81.
The major European markets also closed broadly lower on Monday with investors focusing on corporate earnings updates and looking ahead to the upcoming policy meetings of central banks. Germany’s DAX edged down 0.16 percent and France’s CAC 40 ended lower by 0.21 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.25 percent.
Crude oil prices fell to near three-week lows on Monday amid concerns about global economic growth and the outlook for oil demand following Russia’s decision to allow its energy companies to determine their own pricing and exports. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March dropped $1.78 or 2.2 percent at $77.90 a barrel.
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