Tokyo, Japan (BBN)-Shares in Asia were mixed on Tuesday despite US stocks closing lower and a cut to Japan’s credit rating.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.65% in early trade at 20,112.77 points after closing lower on Monday, reports BBN.
Investors shrugged off worse-than-expected retail sales numbers and Fitch Ratings agency’s decision to downgrade Japan’s credit rating.
Retail sales for the world’s third largest economy fell 9.7% in March from a year earlier.
Forecasts were for a fall of just over 7%.
“The renewed plunge in retail sales values in March suggests that consumer spending may have fallen last quarter,” said Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics.
“Admittedly, the 9.7% year-on-year fall in sales last month overstates the weakness of consumer spending, as it mostly reflected the surge in expenditure a year ago ahead of the sales tax hike, [but] retail sales also fell by 1.9% in month-on month terms,” he said.
Analysts also warned investor sentiment may be affected by Japan’s latest credit rating downgrade from Fitch Ratings, which lowered the country’s rating from A+ to A, which is five notches below the top rating.
The ratings agency said the government had failed to offset the impact of a delay in a sales tax hike with measures to address the deficit.
Japan’s debt is the biggest among developed nations and more than twice the size of its economy
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.15% at 5,973.80 in early trade despite rising iron ore prices.
The price of iron ore, which is Australia’s most important export commodity, rose to its highest level since March on Wednesday to $59.09 (£38.81) a tonne.
Analysts said the price rise could give a boost to shares, but that the resistance to the benchmark breaking the 6000 mark was “incredibly strong”.
“The ASX has tested this point five times this year,” said Evan Lucas from IG Markets in Australia, ” [but] each time it has considered touching 6000 it has failed.”
“What’s more – three of those times the positive momentum in the morning session completely reversed and was sent into negative territory in the afternoon.”
Mr Lucas said the S&P/ASX 200 may cross over the psychological 6000 level on Wednesday, but only for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index was up 0.15% at 2,160.67 after hitting a near four-year high last week.
In Greater China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat in early trade, down 0.06% at 28,417.51 points, while on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.02% at 4,528.50.
Shares were given a boost on Monday after state media reported the government would cut the number of conglomerates it controls through mergers and acquisitions.