Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday morning as Japan reported its economy contracted less than originally estimated in the fourth quarter and oil surged to $40 a barrel, its highest this year.
Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.7 percent, South Korea's KOSPI 0.2 percent and Singapore's STI 0.5 percent. Australia's ASX 200 bucked the downswing and was little changed as oil's rise helped boost mining and energy shares.
In the U.S. on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 0.09 percent. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent.
Japan reported revised fourth-quarter economic data showing a decline of 1.1 percent instead of the originally reported 1.4 percent. While some investors would be reassured that the economy wasn't as weak as originally reported, others would be discouraged because it may mean less pressure on the government and Bank of Japan to boost economic activity. The BOJ holds a monetary policy meeting next week, having cut interest rates below zero at the end of January.
Japan released the revised GDP data earlier on Tuesday. Later in the morning, China will release February trade data. It will be the latest in a string of economic news from China that started with growth projections and spending pledges at the opening of the National People's Congress during the weekend.
“Risk-on remains the order of the day, at least until the release of China trade data later in the session,” Bloomberg reported Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, as saying.
Brent, the global crude oil benchmark, rose 5 percent to $40.84 a barrel, after Ecuador's foreign minister said his government would host a meeting on Friday with Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico to reach a consensus on oil prices. Oil-producing countries have been trying for weeks to agree on a way to boost prices.