RTTNews - Asian markets ended mixed on Tuesday following cues from Wall Street, where a late rally saw indices close mixed amid concerns about the economy. Traders await the earnings season in the U.S to assess the corporate performance as well as expectations to overcome the weak economic conditions.
In the U.S., stocks ended mixed on Monday following a late day rally, facilitated by bargain hunting at lower levels. Earlier, traders shrugged off a a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing that activity in the service sector contracted for the ninth consecutive month in June, although at a slower pace than economists had been expecting. The ISM said its index of activity in the service sector rose to 47.0 in June from 44.0 in May, but a reading below 50 indicates a contraction. Economists had been expecting the index to come in at 46.0.
The Nasdaq finished down by 9.12 points or 0.5% at 1,787, while the Dow closed up by 44.13 points or 0.5% at 8,325 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.30 points, or 0.3% to 899.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened modestly higher at 9,714 compared to its previous close of 9,681 taking cues from Wall Street where a late-day rally helped the Dow and S&P500 to end in positive territory. However, weaker oil and metal prices dragged the index below the unchanged line. An attempt to stage a recovery in the afternoon failed and the index ended the day in the red with a loss of 33.08 points, or 0.34% at 9,648. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues fell 3.29 points, or 0.4%, to 909.
Light sweet crude oil price for August delivery ended at $64.25, representing a gain of $0.20 a barrel in Asian trading, after having shed about $2.63 a barrel in New York to $64.05 a barrel on concerns about weak demand.
Among metal stocks, Pacific Metals Co., declined 3.09%, Nippon Light Metal Co lost 1.98%, and Sumitomo Metal Mining fell 4.32%.
Oil companies ended mixed. Inpex edged down 0.14%, and Nippon Oil Corp fell 2.14%. However, Showa Shell remained unchanged from its previous close.
Among the banks, Mitsubishi UFJ lost 1.01%, Mizuho Financial fell 4.85%, Resona Holdings slipped 0.58% and Sumitomo Mitsui lost 2.81%.
Shipping stocks ended weaker following drop in shipping rates. Kawasaki Kisen declined 1.89%, Nippon Yuesen fell 1.52% and Mitsui O.S.K Lines lost 2.65%.
In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 3,784 and drifted into negative territory amid mixed cues from Wall Street and softness in commodity prices. The index continued to remain in the negative territory throughout the session before ending with a loss of 16.40 points, or 0.43%, at 3,768. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended at 3,767, representing a loss of 16.80 points, or 0.40%.
On the economic front, the Reserve Bank of Australia said it is retaining its cash rate at 3% for the third straight month. In its assessment of the economy, the Central Bank said that economic conditions in the country were not as weak as expected earlier. However, the bank foresees further decline due to sluggish capacity utilization and output coupled with weak demand for labor. In a separate report, the Australian Industry Group revealed that construction sector contracted for the 16th straight month in June. The survey results revealed that the Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association's Performance of Construction Index (PCI) for June was 42.6, a decline of 4.3 points from the month before.
Among metal stocks, BHP Billiton shed 1.13%, Rio Tinto fell 2.37% and Orica Energy edged down 0.14%. However, Fortescue Metals gained 2.06% and Macarthur Coal added 1.14%.
Oil stocks declined on lower crude prices. Woodside Petroleum edged down 0.93%, Santos lost 2.43% and Oil Search slipped 0.53%.
Gold stocks ended mixed. Lihir Gold slipped 0.70% and Newcrest Mining lost 2.02%. However, Sino Gold bucked the trend and soared 5.78%.
Financial stocks also ended lower on growth concerns. ANZ Bank lost 0.50%, Commonwealth Bank Australia edged down 0.16% and National Australia Bank slipped 0.73%. However, Westpac Banking bucked the trend and edged up 0.10%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened lower at 17,943 compared to its previous close at 17,979, and moved above the unchanged line in early trading on mixed cues from Wall Street. However, thin trading volumes and cautious trading ahead of earnings season in the U.S prompted most traders to take profits in the recent rally and stay in the sidelines. The index finally ended the session in negative territory with a loss of 117.14 points, or 0.65%, at 17,862.
Cathay Pacific Air gained more than 6%. are JP Morgan revised the outlook for the airline to overweight from underweight. China Unicom rose more than 2.3% on speculation that the wireless provider is likely to sign a deal to launch Apple's popular iPhone handset in China.
Resource stocks ended in the negative territory on softer commodity prices. Coal-miner China Shenhua declined 2.46%, Aluminum Corp of China, or CHALCO, lost 1.40%, PetroChina fell 2.04%, and CNOOC shed 1.534%.
Property stocks showed mixed response. Sino Land fell 1.36%, Wharf Holdings edged down 0.50%, SHK Properties slipped 0.58% and New World Development edged down 0.14%.
In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in the positive territory on optimism about recovery The market opened slightly higher at 1,434 compared to previous close at 1,429 on positive cues from Wall Street where late rally helped Dow ended in positive territory. The upgrading of the outlook for the economy by International Monetary Fund helped the index close positive territory amid volatile trading. The index ended with a gain of 5.26 points or 0.37% at 1,434.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 2.52%. LG Electronics advanced 5.28% and LG Display gained 1.18% on expectations of better results for the sector.
Steel stocks ended weaker. POSCO slipped 1.39% following weak prices. Among construction stocks, Hyundai'e Engineering and Construction lost 2.14%.
In India, the stock market recovered some of the lost ground and ended in positive territory as investors read the fine print of the budget proposals that had some measures aimed at sustaining the pace of economic recovery..
The BSE Sensex finished at 14,170, up 127.05 points, or 0.90% from its previous close and the Nifty Index gained 36.45 points, or 0.88% points, to close at 4,202
Among other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index ended in negative territory with a loss of 35.22 points, or 1.13% to close at 3.089 . However, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index advanced 48.24 points, or 2.37% to close at 2,083, Singapore's Strait Times Index gained 6.17 points, or 0.27% to 2.272, and Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 65.31 points, or 0.98% to close at 6,715.
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