Beijing, China (BBN) – Asian equities were mostly pressured in Tuesday trade following a lackluster session on Wall Street that saw major indexes close just above the flat line.
Investors also digested the release of a slew of Chinese economic data points, reports CNBC.com
MARKETS ON THE MOVE
The Nikkei 225 erased early losses to climb 0.36 percent as gains in most tech names offset losses in trading houses and energy-related stocks. Shares of Sharp and Toshiba were up 2.62 percent and 6.45 percent, respectively.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi lost 0.24 percent as automakers and cosmetics names pared gains made in the last session. Brokerages also trended lower. Despite the benchmark index edging lower, the tech-heavy Kosdaq soared 1.63 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.87 percent as declines in resource stocks and financials dragged on the broader market: National Australia Bank was down 1.21 percent and Rio Tinto lost 0.98 percent. The energy sector was also in the red, with Santos falling 1.97 percent as oil edged lower. Following news that Shell Energy Holdings Australia sold its 3.5 billion Australian dollar ($2.7 billion) stake in Woodside, shares of the latter traded down 3.06 percent.
Of note, business conditions in Australia rose to a record high in October as profits improved, according to National Australia Bank’s monthly survey.
Greater China markets were narrowly mixed. The Hang Seng Index edged up 0.19 percent while mainland markets edged down following the release of a slew of economic data released in the morning. The Shanghai Composite was off 0.29 percent and the Shenzhen Composite slipped 0.28 percent.
Data on Tuesday showed that the country’s fixed asset investment growth between January and October slowed to 7.3 percent, below the 7.4 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. Retail sales for October rose 10 percent compared to one year ago, against the 10.4 percent projected in a Reuters survey. Industrial output, for its part, increased 6.2 percent that month, a touch below the 6.3 percent forecast.
Several notable Japanese corporates are due to report earnings on Tuesday, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Idemitsu Kosan.
U.S. stocks finished their Monday session a touch higher as investors digested dealmaking headlines but worried about the progress on tax reforms. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.07 percent, or 17.49 points, to close at 23,439.70 while shares of General Electric tumbled 7.17 percent after it said it would cut dividend in half.
THE LEAD UP
Proposed tax cuts were in focus stateside, with President Donald Trump joining the fray and calling for additional amendments in the Republican plan. In a tweet, Trump suggested repealing an Affordable Care Act provision that requires most Americans to purchase insurance. Doing so would allow the top individual income tax rate to be cut to 35 percent with “all the rest going to middle income cuts,” Trump added.
Trump’s tweet added more complexity to plans to reform the U.S. tax system. There are currently two tax plans drawn up by House and Senate Republicans which have to be passed by the respective chambers before eventually being reconciled.
Ahead, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda are among those scheduled to attend a central banking conference in Frankfurt on Tuesday. Investors are likely to take note of the messaging coming out of that conference.
Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group on Monday said net profit for the quarter ending in September fell 12 percent to come in at 198.4 billion yen ($1.75 billion), Reuters reported. Ultra-low interest rates have hurt returns for Japan’s banks. Mizuho stock was last down 0.94 percent.
Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said the bank would be looking to expanding its stake in its investment bank joint venture on the Chinese mainland to a controlling 51 percent, the South China Morning Post reported. The move came after China announced last week it would be easing foreign ownership rules on financial sector joint ventures.
Meanwhile, e-commerce company JD.com on Monday announced net earnings of 1 billion yuan ($150.6 million) in the quarter ending September. That was above the 213 million yuan loss estimated in a Reuters survey.
WATCHING THE DOLLAR
Sterling continued to struggle on the back of negative weekend headlines about U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership and as Brexit negotiations only inched forward. The pound traded at $1.3114 at 10:12 a.m. HK/SIN after touching as low as $1.3060 on Monday.
“Suffice to say that in the absence of progress within U.K. political circles this week and next toward offering up a higher Brexit divorce bill, sterling could be down another 5 percent or more by month end,” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a note.
“If instead May does somehow manage to pull a proverbial rabbit out of the hat, it will be 5 percent or more stronger. The pound will be a very sharp toy in the coming few weeks.”
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of six currencies, edged down to 94.487 at 10:13 a.m. HK/SIN. The U.S. currency strengthened against the yen to trade at 113.68, near the 113.62 seen in the last session.
THE COMMODITIES TRADE
U.S. crude futures shed 0.11 percent to trade at $56.70 a barrel and Brent crude slid 0.14 percent to trade at $63.07. Oil was range-bound in the last session as markets weighed increasing U.S. production and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.