RTTNews - The markets across the Asia-Pacific region, except Japan, ended sharply lower following sharp sell-off in Shanghai market in China on worries of overheating and bubbles. Profit taking across markets as the commodities retreated from recent gains also impacted market sentiment. The Nikkei Index in Japan bucked the trend and ended in positive territory ahead of earnings from major companies.

In the U.S., stocks ended on a mixed note with major averages closing on either side of the unchanged line amid yet another low volume trading as traders digested weak economic numbers and earnings.

On the economic front, a report released by the Conference Board revealed that consumer confidence deteriorated by more than expected in the month of July, reflecting less favorable assessments of both current conditions and near-term outlook. The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index fell to 46.6 in July from an unrevised 49.3 in June. Economists had been expecting a much more modest decline by the index to a reading of about 49.0.

In another report, Standard and Poor's revealed that its S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell at an annual rate of 17.1% in May compared to the 18.1% decrease reported for April. Economists had expected the report to show that prices fell 17.9% year-over-year. On a monthly basis, S&P said that 13 of the 20 metro areas reported positive returns, contributing to the first monthly increase by the 20-city composite since the summer of 2006. The 20-city composite index rose 0.5 percent for the month.

Traders also digested earnings of Valero Energy (VLO), Amgen (AMGN), Manitowoc (MTW) and Office Depot (ODP).

While the Nasdaq closed up by 7.62 points or 0.4% at 1,976, the Dow fell by 11.79 points or 0.1% to 9,097 and the S&P 500 slipped by 2.56 points or 0.3% to 980.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply lower at 10,036 compared to its previous close of 10,087 lower commodity prices and mixed closing in Wall Street. However, the market recovered and moved above the unchanged line ahead of earnings. Optimism about global recovery also lifted sentiment. , but drifted into negative territory as traders preferred to take profits. The index ended with a gain of 25.98 points, or 0.26% at 10,113. However, the broader Topix Index of all first section issues ended in positive territory with a gain of 0.23 points to 930.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery ended the Asian trading session at $66.53, down $0.70 from its previous close in New York at $67.23 a barrel on Tuesday.

Yahoo Japan Corp gained 6.95% after stating that the web portal expects a 8.3% rise in earnings for the six-month period ended September 30. Softbank, which has 41% stake in Yahoo Japan, advanced 4.39%.

Japan's largest oil refiner, Nippon Oil edged up 0.19% after the company said it expects a net profit for the full fiscal year close to its previous forecasts. The company had earlier reported a 51% drop in profit for the April-June quarter.

Hitachi gained 5.12% after JP Morgan Chase raised the rating and outlook for the company. Softbank

Nippon Steel Corp. slumped 3.45% after reporting that its first-half net loss will probably be wider than earlier projected.

Shipping stocks continued to slide for the third day on expectations of loss. Kawasaki Kisen shed 2.49%, Nippon Yusen fell 2.74% and Mitsui OSK Lines slumped 4.04%.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened lower at 4,163 compared to its previous close at 4,174 and drifted down on lower commodity prices. The market briefly staged a recovery led by financials and moved above the unchanged line but could not sustain the gains and moved back to negative territory in the afternoon session, amid profit taking. The index finally ended the session in negative territory with a loss of 25.10 points, or 0.60% at 4,149. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index also followed a similar trend and ended at 4,143, representing a loss of 26.70 points, or 0.64%.

Commodity stocks led the decline following a pullback in oil and metal prices in the international market. Among mining stocks, BHP Billiton fell 1.55%, Rio Tinto lost 2.36%, Fortescue Metals slumped 5.24%, Iluka Resources declined 3.77%, and Oz Minerals dropped 3.52%.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum slipped 0.67%, Santos lost 1.16%, Oil Search fell 2.76%, and Origin Energy declined 1.77%.

Gold stocks also declined on lower bullion prices. Lihir Gold slumped 3.91%, Newcrest Mining fell 1.41% and Sino Gold edged down 0.54%.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the banks. While Westpac Banking added 0.14%, ANZ Bank slipped 0.06%, Commonwealth Bank edged down 0.30% and National Australia Bank fell 0.78%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended sharply lower following sharp sell-off in Shanghai Stock market in mainland China on overheating and concerns of a bubble. Lower commodity prices and concerns about valuation also impacted negative sentiment. The market opened sharply lower at 20,405 compared to its previous close at 20,625 and drifted further down on concerns about stock valuations, lower commodity prices and sell-off in Shanghai where the stocks ended 5% down. Profit taking after recent rally also contributed to the sell-off. The index traded in the negative throughout the session and finally ended at 20,136, down 489.04 points, or 2.37%.

As many as 36 of the 42 components in the index ended in negative territory on profit taking.

China related stocks, property stocks and financials ended weaker. In property space, Hang Lung Properties slumped 6.43%, New World Development Co fell 4.19%, Sino Land lost 3.98% and SHK Property declined 2.71%.

Resource related stocks ended weaker. Aluminum Corp. of China or CHALCO lost 5.91%, PetroChina fell 3.90% and CNOOC declined 4.05%.

Among china-related stocks, China Shenhua declined 5.27%, China Petroleum slumped 5.04%, China Residential Enterprises fell 3.32% and China Overseas Land lost 2.94%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in negative territory snapping the recent gains as traders paused to take profits ahead of earnings and GDP numbers in the U.S tomorrow. The market opened slightly weaker at 1,524 compared to previous close at 1,526 and drifted down on lower commodity prices and weak sentiment across the markets. The benchmark KOSPI index ended at 1,524, representing a loss of 1.71 points, or 0.11%.

The Indian market tumbled dramatically in mid-session trading following a sharp fall in Chinese market. However, positive opening in European markets and short covering ahead of the expiry of the July series derivatives on Thursday helped recover part of the losses.

BSE Sensex finished the trading session at 15,173, down 158 points or 1.03% and the S&P CNX Nifty fell 51 points or 1.11% to 4,513.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged 171.94 points, or 5.00% to close at 3,266, Singapore's Strait Times Index fell 19.98 points, or 0.76% to close at 2,604, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index slipped 11.29 points, or 0.50% to close at 2,226, and Taiwan's Weighted Index lost 59.00 points, or 0.83% to close at 7,084.

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