(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are exhibiting a mixed trend on Tuesday, with investors mostly treading cautiously following a weak lead from Wall Street where stocks retreated overnight with worries about a looming government shutdown weighing on the market.
Except in the Japanese market, where an upbeat Tankan report and a weaker yen have lifted sentiment, the trend in most of the other markets is quite sluggish amid concerns about a looming government shutdown in the U.S.
In the Australian market, shares from energy, mining, healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors are trading mixed, while industrial, financial and property trusts stocks are trading firm.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 5,201.8 after a positive start, is currently trading at 5,225.5, up 7.8 points from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 4.8 points at 5,222.5, more than 20 points off the day's low of 5,201.1.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are up 0.4 to 0.8 percent, while Westpac (WBK) is trading flat. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are down marginally.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Fortescue Metals are trading flat, Rio Tinto (RIO) is down 0.6 percent and Newcrest Mining is trading lower by 2.6 percent. Oz Minerals, Bluescope Steel, ALS, Tabcorp Holdings and Crown are down 2 to 2.8 percent.
Oil Search, PanAust, Whitehaven Coal, WorleyParsons, Echo Entertainment Group and Goodman Group are also trading sharply lower.
Meanwhile, Treasury Wine Estates, Brambles, Downer EDI, GPT Group, Qantas Airways, Origin Energy, Perpetual Limited and Mineral Resources are trading firm, gaining 1.5 to 3 percent.
Leighton Holdings is up 1.2 percent. The company announced that it has won a contract worth A$370 million to build a new terminal and car park at Melbourne Airport.
In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia will conclude its monetary policy meeting and then announce its decision on interest rates. The bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold at 2.50 percent.
Meanwhile, manufacturing activity in Australia expanded in September, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Australian Industry Group. AIG's Performance of Manufacturing Index rose 5.3 points from August to 51.7. The September reading marked the first reading above 50.0 in more than two years.
The total value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in August compared to the previous month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, standing at A$21.923 billion. That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.3 percent following the 0.1 percent gain in July.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9321, up from Monday's close of US$0.9308.
Despite a weak lead from Wall Street, the Japanese stock market rose sharply, with an upbeat Tankan report and a weaker yen triggering some brisk buying at several counters.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 171.9 points or 1.2 percent at 14,627.7 at the end of the morning session.
Unitika, up nearly 7 percent, was the top gainer in the Nikkei index. Takara Holings gained about 6.5 percent and Furukawa moved up 5.5 percent.
GS Yuasa Corp., NSK, Ube Industries, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing, Softbank Corp., NTN Corp., Konami Corp. and Konica Minolta gained over 3 percent.
Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Citizen Holdings, Hino Motors, Fuji Heavy Industries, Yokohama Rubber, Sumitomo Metal Mining, Fast Retailing, Pioneer Corp., Trend Micro, Olympus Corp. and Honda Motor ( HMC ) were among the other impressive gainers.
Among the losers, Taiyo Yuden declined by over 2 percent. Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, Nippon Paper Industries, Yamato Holdings, Mitsubishi Paper Mills and Marui Group lost 1 to 2 percent.
On the economic front, the index measuring business sentiment in Japan surged in the third quarter of 2013, the Bank of Japan revealed in its quarterly Tankan business survey.
The large manufacturers index came in with a score of 12, beating forecasts for a 7 and up from 4 in the second quarter. The outlook score was 11, also beating expectations for a 10 - which would have been unchanged from the previous three months.
The large non-manufacturers index was at 14, matching expectations and up from 12 in Q2. The outlook score was 14 versus forecasts for 15 and up from 12 in the three months prior.
Large all-industry capex is now seen at 5.1 percent for the current fiscal year, missing forecasts for 6.0 percent and down from 5.5 percent in the previous quarter.
According to a report from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.1 percent in August. That missed forecasts for an increase of 3.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from the July reading.
Meanwhile, the average of household spending in Japan contracted 1.6 percent on year in August to 284.646 yen, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. That was well shy of forecasts that called for an increase of 0.2 percent following the 0.1 percent increase in July. On month, household spending dipped 0.5 percent.
The average of monthly income per household stood at 471,411 yen, down 0.9 percent on year. The average of consumption expenditures per household was 312,622 yen, down 0.5 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 98 yen level in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 98.55 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably higher. Indonesia is up with modest gains, while Malaysia and New Zealand are down marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks ended notably lower on Monday, as worries about a looming government shutdown weighed on the market. Investors ignored some upbeat statistics on the manufacturing sector and focused on the budget fight in Washington.
The Dow finished declined 128.6 points or 0.8 percent to 15,129.7. The Nasdaq ended down 10.1 points or 0.3 percent at 3,771.48 and the S&P 500 slipped 10.2 points or 0.6 percent to 1,681.5.
Major European markets too ended weak on Monday. The French CAC 40 index lost 1 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German Dax index both closed lower by 0.8 percent.
U.S. crude oil prices ended lower on Monday. Crude for November delivery dropped $0.54 or 0.5 percent to close at $102.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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