Asia stocks edge higher; Nikkei ends up 0.1%


Shutterstock photo - - Asian stock markets edged higher on Tuesday following a mixing morning session, but gains remained limited as investors continued to monitor developments in Iraq.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4%, China's Shanghai Composite inched up 0.31%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.38% lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 0.05%.

A bloody Sunni insurgency in Iraq steered investors towards safe-haven assets like gold and away from stocks, as fears continued to persist the U.S. will become increasingly involved in the conflict, which could threaten recovery.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has agreed to a July 1 deadline to create a new government, a step required by Washington if Baghdad receives U.S. assistance in battling the insurgents.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei ended higher as investors looked ahead to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's press conference later in the day, where he is expected to unveil the reform plans of his 'third arrow' strategy.

Meanwhile, shares in mainland China and Hong Kong rebounded from the previous day's losses, but gains remained limited amid ongoing concerns over the health of China's economy.

Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index declined, while the Australian dollar fell from the previous session's five-week peak against the greenback. The Aussie weakened to 94.05 U.S. cents from 94.40 on Monday.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a higher open. The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.2%, France's CAC 40 added 0.3%, London's FTSE 100 indicated a gain of 0.2%, while Germany's DAX inched up 0.1%.

In the euro zone, the Ifo Institute is to publish data on German business climate.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a modestly lower open. The Dow futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, the S&P 500 indicated a decline of 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 pointed to a fall of 0.1%.

The U.S. is to release private sector data on consumer confidence, as well as a report on new home sales. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing Forex and Currencies
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