Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region have faltered after a positive start today with participants resorting to some profit taking ahead of announcement of quarterly earnings by some corporate conglomerates.

The markets in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have all slipped into negative terrain after a positive start. Markets across the globe had moved up sharply last week on expectations global economy would soon be back on track. However, with key results to hit the market during the course of this week, investors appear to have turned a bit cautious. However, the Chinese, Hong Kong and the Indonesian market have recovered after a weak opening.

The benchmark New Zealand index NZX 50 is down by around 20.46 points at 2,691. The S&P/ASX200 index of Australia is trading 21.60 points down at 3,707.

The Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South Korean indices are also down in the red with sharp losses today. The Hang Seng, which had slipped by over 200 points in early trading, has recovered and is now trading up by 142.28 points or 0.91% at 15,745 now. The Nikkei 225 is down 85 points at 8,822. Singapore's Strait Times and KOSPI are down by around half a per cent each.

Front line materials stocks in Australia, namely BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Newcrest Mining, Incitec Pivot and Lihir Gold are trading lower with sharp losses.

With traders taking profits after recent gains, retail, technology export, telecom, machinery, shipbuilding and construction stocks are seeing weakness in the Japanese stock market. Toshiba is down by over 5% on reports of its plan to raise capital. A fair amount of buying is seen in steel stocks following Nomura Holdings Inc. raising its outlook on the industry.

Despite a sharp rebound after an initial fall, the Korean stock market faltered once again as investors looked to take profits. Samsung Electronics and Posco are trading lower while financial and automobile sectors witness selective buying.

In currency trading, the Japanese Yen has edged up against the dollar while rest of the currencies in the Asia-Pacific region are down marginally.

Wall Street will be busy assessing report cards this week, as the season springs forward. IBM, Coca-Cola, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft are among the conglomerates scheduled to report during the course of this week. Armonk, New York-based technology giant International Business Machines Corp. is set to report first quarter results on April 20.

Bank of America, Boston Scientific Corp., Eli Lilly & Co, Texas Instruments Inc., Halliburton Co and Weatherford International Limited are among the other big ones scheduled to announce their quarterly results today.

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