RTTNews - Asian markets are trading mostly lower on Tuesday with some of them suffering sharp losses, as investors appear keen on taking some profits after recent rallies. The flat close on Wall Street overnight and a lack of prominent triggers to warrant any significant buying activity are contributing to the weakness today. Additionally, weak earnings reported by Chinese commodity firms weigh in to a notable extent. Oil prices too are drifting lower today with concerns over an economic recovery surfacing again.

In the Australian market, energy, consumer staples, materials and healthcare stocks are seeing a sell off. Industrials, information technology and telecom stocks are trading mixed. Bank stocks are off their morning lows thanks to modest support at lower levels.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200, which had drifted down to 4390 earlier in the day, is currently down with a loss of 24 points, or 0.5%, at 4,402. The broader All Ordinaries index is down by 22 points, or 0.5%, at 4412.

Shares of the second largest retailer Wesfarmers Limited has tumbled by over 6% today on reports the firm is stocking more fresh fruit and vegetables than it can sell to reverse the reputation its Coles supermarkets has for empty shelves and win market share.

Industrial building services and refrigeration company Hastie Group Ltd said a strong performance from its Australian arm has helped push its full year profit up 53%. Hastie's net profit rose to A$58.34 million in the year ended June 30, from A$37.96 million in the previous year, as revenue lifted by 40% to A$1.8 billion.

Oil Search Ltd has announced that its first half profits have fallen 73.3% due to weaker prices and lower sales. The Papua New Guinea-based company revealed its first half net profit for the six months to June 30 was A$42.51 million, compared to A$159.16 million in the corresponding period of 2008. Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said revenue had fallen from an all-time high of A$557.25 million in first half of 2008 to A$221.01 million. Despite weak results, the Oil Search stock is trading up by nearly 5%.

APA Group's net profit for the year ended June 30 rose 17.2% to A$78.77 million from the previous year and the company termed the results as good, given the tough economic climate. Underlying operating net profit rose 34% to A$110.13 million, after excluding significant items totaling A$21.01 million. Revenue before one-offs was A$944.42 million, up 7.1%. The stock is currently trading up by over 5%.

Gaming machine producer Aristocrat Leisure Ltd reported a A$33 million loss for the first half and announced a major transformation program to stabilize earnings and focus on key markets. The stock is trading lower by about 2.6%.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened on a firm note today. In early trading this morning, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8387/92, up from Monday's close of US$0.8368/71. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8359 to the U.S. dollar. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8365 to the U.S. dollar.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei was down nearly 83 points, or 0.78%, at 10,498 at the end of the morning session today as investors chose to take profits after previous session's strong gains.

Construction, foods and textiles stocks are drifted lower. Steel and non-ferrous metals stocks were also seen struggling for support. Almost all prominent stocks in machinery and electric machinery space were seen trading in the red this morning. And there was not much buying in the banking space as well.

Among automobile stocks, Hino Motors surged higher even as Honda Motor, Suzuki Motor, Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor drifted lower on selling pressure.

Lawson Inc. shares edged higher, extending their gains after the convenience store operator officially announced it is forming an alliance with Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co. to launch hybrid convenience stores and drugstores.

NGK Insulators moved up by over 5% on reports that the company has received an order worth slightly over 60 billion yen to supply sodium-sulfur batteries to Abu Dhabi.

Ministop Co. slipped following the company downgrading its group earnings outlook for the six months through August. The downward revision was attributed to sluggish sales caused by the unseasonably cool weather and heavy rain in July and August.

Nitori Co. moved higher for the fourth consecutive trading day after the furniture store operator said Monday evening that its same-store sales will likely increase 13.2% on the year in August.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 94-yen range earlier this morning, slightly down from its levels overnight in New York. In early trading, the dollar fetched 94.39-44 yen compared with Monday's close of 94.52-62 yen in New York and 94.95-98 yen in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 94 to the U.S. dollar.

In the Korean market, automobile and bank stocks are drifting lower on profit taking. Technology stocks are also seen exhibiting weakness. However, oil stocks are trading firm, while steel and telecom stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

The Korean benchmark index KOSPI is trading in the red at 1,600, down 12 points, or 0.75%, from its previous close.

Among automobile stocks, Kia Motor and Hyundai Motor are down by nearly 3% each. Ssangyong Motors, however, is up in positive territory with a 6% gain.

In the technology space, LG Electronics is down by about 3%, Samsung Electronics and LG Display LCD are down with modest losses, while Hynix Semiconductor is trading modestly higher.

Among bank stocks, Korea Exchange Bank, Shinhan Financial and KB Financial are down by 1.5% - 3%, while Woori Finance is trading lower by 0.6%.

Steel stocks Hyundai Steel and POSCO are trading flat. Among oil stocks, SK Holdings and S-Oil are up by 2% and 1%, respectively. KEPCO is down by about 1%. Shipbuilders are trading mixed.

Among other markets in the region, Shanghai and Hong Kong are down sharply in the red. Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan are also trading notably lower. The New Zealand market is trading flat. Stock markets across the region had closed notably higher on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower after some early strength as market sentiment was slightly hit by comments from noted economist Nouriel Roubini about a possible double recession. Moving in a choppy manner in late session, the Dow ended the day with a small gain of 3.32 points at 9,509. The Nasdaq drifted down by 2.92 points to 2,018 and the S&P 500 ended 0.56 points down at 1,026.

Major European markets saw strong gains on Monday with the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index both rising by 0.8%, while the French CAC 40 index gained 1%.

Crude oil edged higher on Monday amid hopes a global economic recovery will boost energy demand. Oil hit a 10-month intra-day high before easing. Light sweet crude for October closed at US$74.37 per barrel, up 48 cents on the session.

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