One day after halting the two-day losing streak that had cost it more than 30 points or 1.2 percent, the China stock market turned right back to the downside on Tuesday. The Shanghai Composite Index is maintaining support at 2,535 points, and now investors are hopeful that the market will move back to the upside in Wednesday's trade.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly optimistic, despite some weaker than expected corporate earnings news. But the financials are expected to climb following positive comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The European markets were mixed and largely near the unchanged line, while the U.S. markets ended sharply higher - and the Asian markets are tipped to land somewhere in between.
The SCI finished modestly lower on Tuesday, thanks to weakness among the financial stocks, metals and resources.
For the day, the index dropped 21.63 points or 0.85 percent to close at 2,535.83 after trading between 2,499.60 and 2,552.60. The Shenzhen Index dropped 1.56 percent to 9.640.90 points for a combined turnover of 243.76 billion yuan. Losses outnumbered gains by 431 to 358 in Shanghai and 406 to 275 in Shenzhen.
Among the decliners, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China shed 0.96 percent, while Hua Xia Bank sank 4.37 percent, Shenhua Energy fell 2.51 percent, Yunnan Copper lost 2.39 percent, Guangdong Dongyangguang Aluminium dropped 3.93 percent and China United Telecommunications Co jumped 4.83 percent.
Wall Street offers a broadly positive lead as stocks showed a strong upward move over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session. While stocks saw initial weakness on disappointing earnings news, a positive reaction to comments from Geithner drove the markets higher.
The initial weakness came after Dow component Merck (MRK) reported first quarter earnings that fell short of analyst estimates and lowered its full year revenue guidance. Caterpillar (CAT) also slashed its full-year guidance, although it reported much better than expected adjusted first quarter earnings.
In other earnings news, chemical giant DuPont (DD) reported first quarter earnings that fell year-over-year and lowered its full-year guidance. The company's downwardly revised earnings guidance brought it in line with analyst estimates.
The turnaround by the markets was partly due to comments from Geithner, who assured the Congressional Oversight Panel that there is enough money left in the government's $700 billion financial rescue program to stabilize the financial system. Geithner said there is at least $134.4 billion in funds left. The Treasury Secretary also said that the vast majority of U.S. banks have enough capital and hinted that the credit markets may be thawing following their deep freeze.
Indicators on interbank lending, corporate issuance and credit spreads generally suggest improvements in confidence in the stability of the system and some thawing in credit markets, Geithner said.
The major averages moved to the upside going into the close, ending the session at or near their best levels of the day. The Dow closed up 127.83 points or 1.6 percent at 7,969.56, the NASDAQ closed up 35.64 points or 2.2 percent at 1,643.85 and the S&P 500 closed up 17.69 points or 2.1 percent at 850.08.
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