Most markets across the Asia-Pacific region are trading mixed on Tuesday following the news that the third stimulus package from Japan may be delayed. The markets having opened stronger, defying the weak cues from Wall Street, are presently paring some of the gains following the news about the stimulus package from Japan. Positive economic data from South Korea where the manufacturers' expectation regarding business activities in April rose to 60 from 50 recorded in March, helped lift sentiment as market investors believe the economic measures unveiled by the governments are starting to show positive results.
The markets have already discounted the weakness in the global auto industry and shrugged off the sharp fall in Wall Street. In the U.S., the Dow Jones shed more than 3% dragged by automakers after the Obama Administration indicated that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have not gone far enough in their restructuring plans and need to step up their efforts to reorganize in order to receive additional government aid. Financial stocks were also under stress after the Treasury Secretary stated that more banks might need more money than initially projected to clean up their balance sheets.
On Monday, the Dow closed down 254.16 points or 3.3% at 7,522, the Nasdaq closed down 43.40 points or 2.8% at 1,502 and the S&P 500 closed down 28.41 points or 3.5% at 787.
In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up $0.78 at $49.19 a barrel, in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed at $48.41 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, down $3.97 a barrel, on worries over the banking and automobile sectors in the U.S.
In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is trading at 8,154, down 82.28, having given up most of the gains in the morning session as expectations over a third stimulus package faded. The broader Topix Index of all First section issues is down 5 points at 784.
Among a raft of economic data on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 4.4% in February, slightly higher that forecasts for a 4.3% increase after the 4.1% gain in January.
All household spending was down 3.5% on year versus expectations for a 4.7% annual fall after the 5.9% contraction in January. Wage earner household spending was off an annual 1%. The propensity to consume came in at 75.7%, up 1.6 points on year. It was 87.1% in January.
Automakers are trading higher. Toyota is gaining 1.27% and Honda is advancing 1.09%.
Banking stocks are trading mixed. Mizuho Financial is down 1.52% and Sumitomo Mitsui is sliding 3.28%. Mitsubishi UFJ is trading unchanged and Resona Holdings is edging up 0.15%. Brokerage Nomura Holdings is down 3.05%.
Exporters are trading lower despite a weaker yen. Canon is trading unchanged, Sony is down 0.24% and Sharp is down 3.26%.
Oil-related stocks are trading mixed. While Inpex is adding 1.91%, Nippon Oil is losing 2.03% and Showa Shell is down 0.66%. Meanwhile, trading house Mitsubishi Corp. is declining 1.44%, Sumitomo Corp. is losing 2.06% and Itochu is down 2.26%.
In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is presently losing 10 points to 3,594. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 12 points to 3,542
On the economic front, Reserve Bank of Australia's financial aggregates data for February showed that credit issued to the private sector in Australia was up 5.4% on year in February, while credit issued was steady with a 0.5% gain on month.
Among banking stocks, investment bank Macquarie Group is gaining 8.00%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is up 0.40%, and Westpac is advancing 0.94%. However, ANZ Banking Group is down 1.20%, and National Australia Bank is falling 1.83%.
Investment bank Macquarie group revealed that it would cut the cash portion of executive bonuses in favor or equity.
In the resources sector, while index leader BHP Billiton is losing 0.57%, Rio Tinto is moving up 0.21%. Gold miners are trading higher, despite gold closing lower for a second straight session on Monday. Lihir Gold is adding 1.86%, Sino Gold is up 1.17%, and Newcrest Mining is gaining 2.29%.
Among energy stocks, Woodside is falling 2.45%, and Oil Search is losing 1.46%, while Santos is rising 2.51%, after the oil and gas producer submitted a draft environmental impact statement for the A$7.7 billion liquefied natural gas project near Gladstone in Queensland in a joint venture with Malaysia's state-owned Petronas.
In the retail sector, while David Jones is dropping 6.93% and Woolworths is losng 0.20%, Coles' owner Wesfarmers is adding 1.52%.
The benchmark KOSPI Index in South Korea opened Tuesday's session higher at 1,206, compared to its previous of 1,197, and is currently trading at 1,227, up 29.26, or 2.44%.
Manufacturing sentiment in the country rose, as more companies are optimistic that the recent stimulus package unveiled by the Government as well as steps initiated to revive the banking sector will yield positive results. According to Bank of Korea report, business survey index of manufacturers' expectations increased to 60 for April from 50 reported for March 2009.
Automakers and financials are leading the gains in the market, as investors had already discounted the weakness in the global auto industry.
Among the automakers, Hyundai Motor is gaining 4.91%, Kia Motor is advancing 4.22% and Ssangyong Motor is moving up 2.50%
Financials are also trading higher. KB Financial Group, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, is moving up 1.78%, Shinhan Financial is advancing 4.53% and Woori Finance is gaining 2.53%.
Shipbuilders are also trading higher. Hyundai Heavy Industries is gaining 2.02%, Daewoo Ship building is moving up 2.16%, and Samsung Heavy Industries is advancing 2.37%.
Oil-related stocks are advancing on lower crude prices. SK Holdings is gaining 3.29% and S-Oil is rising 0.52%. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics is moving up 1.76%.
Technology stocks are trading mixed. While LG Electronics is advancing 2.51%, and LG Display is gaining 3.47%, Hynix Semiconductor is losing 0.40%.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened Tuesday's session at 13,545, higher than its previous close at 13,456 and is presently trading at 13,496 up 0.3% or 39.77 points. Bargain hunting in select stocks after the sharp decline on Monday is leading the markets higher.
Property stocks are leading the markets higher, with New World Development, Swire Pacific, MTR Corp., Shopping Property, Sino Land and Hang Lung Property all moving to the upside. On the other hand, Henderson Land is seeing some weakness.
Among the index heavyweights, China Mobile is rising about 0.80%, while HSBC Holdings is receding nearly 1.30%. However, most other bank and insurance stocks are moving to the upside. China-related stocks are also showing strength.
Among the other markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index is down 10.30 points, or 0.44% at 2,348, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index is gaining 1.69% or 24.05 points at 1,443, Singapore's Strait Times Index is advancing 1.43% or 23.94 points at 1,697, and Taiwan's Weighted Index is up 65.61 points or 1.26% at 5,272.
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