Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors await the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the outcome of the European leaders' discussions about the sovereign debt crisis in the region later this week.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite gained 0.54 percent or 11.31 points to 2118.27 and the Indian benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.57 percent or 100.97 points to 17792.05, while the Japanese benchmark Nikkei fell 0.16 percent or 14.24 points to 9156.92, South Korean KOSPI Composite slipped 0.16 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended flat.
Markets mostly advanced as investors maintained hopes about the policy action from European Central Bank (ECB), despite Bundesbank’s criticism on the government bond purchase. The ECB also denied the Spiegel report which said the central bank may cap yield on peripheral debt.
“The Bundesbank opposing the ECB bond purchase isn't new. As long as the euro is preserved, Germany will have to bear the burden in the end," Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of SMBC Nikko Securities' equity division, told the Wall Street Journal.
The leaders of Germany, France, the Eurogroup and Greece will hold bilateral meetings this week. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the regional debt crisis, while Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will visit Berlin and Paris later this week. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the euro zone finance ministers’ meetings, will visit Athens to meet Samaras on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the FOMC will release minutes from its July 31-Aug. 1 meeting on Wednesday. The minutes will give some insight into how the Fed officials' views on the economic outlook evolve. The minutes coupled with the Beige Book and the Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium, which are due next week, might give the public a better picture about whether the Fed will launch additional easing soon or not.
The Japanese shares pared earlier gains and ended on a negative note as declines from machinery firms weighed. Hitachi Construction Machinery Co fell 2.97 percent and Komatsu Ltd. plunged 2.83 percent, while Nomura Holdings Inc. gained 2.11 percent and Konami Corp surged 3.58 percent.
Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd declined 2.65 percent after the company stock was downgraded to “neutral” rating from “buy” at Credit Suisse.
Sands China Ltd rose 2.18 percent and Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp. surged 6 percent in Hong Kong, while Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd. gained 1.29 percent in Shanghai.