Asian stock markets mostly ended lower Tuesday as investors await the central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to discuss monetary policy later this week.
Chinese Shanghai Composite surged 0.85 percent or 17.45 points to 2073.15 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.07 percent or 13.13 points to 19811.80, while Japanese benchmark Nikkei fell 0.57 percent or 52.10 points to 9033.29, South Korean KOSPI Composite declined 0.08 percent and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex slipped 0.53 percent.
Investors are likely to remain in a waiting mode ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech at the Jackson Hole symposium Friday and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s speech on Saturday for hints of what the Fed and the ECB plan to pursue at their September meetings.
Markets rallied over the past month on hopes for policy action from major central banks around the world. Expectations for more action from the Federal Reserve were raised last week after Bernanke said in a letter to the congressional panel that there was room for additional monetary action by the central bank to ease financial conditions and strengthen recovery.
However, the ECB will not reveal its strategy before the next governing council meeting, which will be held Sept. 6. Draghi pledged last month that the bank was ready to do "whatever it takes" to help support the euro. Speculations are running high that the central bank will unveil plans to help lower Spanish and Italian bond yields and will cut interest rates to record lows at its next policy meeting.
"Markets have priced in too much optimism of late which has seen traders finally question the likelihood of central banks delivering on what the market had led itself to believe would happen," Andrew Taylor, market strategist at GFT Global, told Reuters.
Chinese shares rebounded after plunging in the previous session as gains from banking and trading houses offered support. China Citic Bank Corp. Ltd. gained 1.31 percent and China Merchants Bank Co. advanced 1.52 percent while Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd. rallied 10.07 percent.
Japanese shares declined after the Cabinet Office in Tokyo stated in its monthly report released Tuesday that the government was downgrading its assessment of the world’s third largest economy.
Kansai Electric Power Co Inc. plunged 10 percent and Honda Motor Co Ltd. fell 1.91 percent while Sharp Corp. climbed 9.14 percent.
In Seoul, Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.42 percent and Samsung Electronics Co. gained 1.27 percent after plunging more than 7 percent in the previous session after the U.S. bench in San Jose courtroom found the Galaxy maker guilty of violation of intellectual property and asked the company to pay 1.051 billion to Apple in damages for patent infringement.