Asian Markets Marginally Higher Amid Cautious Trades

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Tuesday, with investors tracking a slightly positive lead overnight from Wall Street. However, buying interest is subdued in most of the markets due to lingering concerns about a slowdown in China and on worries about the situation in Ukraine.

The Australian stock market is trading marginally higher ahead of the central bank's rate decision. It is widely expected that the central bank will keep its benchmark interest rate steady at 2.5 percent.

Consumer discretionary, healthcare, energy and industrial stocks are among the notable gainers. Mining, financial and property trusts stocks are mixed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 6.3 points or 0.1 percent at 5,468.5, after rising to 5,493.0 in early trades. The broader All Ordinaries index, which advanced to 5,472.6, is currently up 7.0 points or 0.1 percent at 5,450.4.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are flat, while Westpac (WBK) is up 0.6 percent. Bank of Queensland is down marginally.

Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is trading lower by over 2 percent. The bank said it has completed a $230 million share placement to institutional investors.

Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals are declining 0.3 to 1 percent, while Newcrest Mining is gaining about 0.3 percent.

Flight Centre Travel Group is advancing 3 percent. Downer EDI, SEEK, Perpetual, James Hardie Industries, Navitas, Origin Energy and Rea Group are up 1.5 to 2.3 percent.

Leighton Holdings is adding about 1.7 percent after reporting higher first-quarter earnings. Myer Holdings, Duet Group, Orica, Metcash, Ansell, CSL, JB Hi-Fi and Lend Lease Group are moving up 1 to 1.5 percent.

Shares of retailer David Jones are up marginally after the company announced that its third-quarter sales rose 4.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Alumina (AWC) and Incitec Pivot are down in negative territory, losing 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Aurora Oil & Gas is down more than a percent. Shares in Aurora Oil and Gas will stop trading in late May, in the event of shareholders approving a $1.8 billion takeover offer from Canada'sBaytex Energy.

On the economic front, Australia saw a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$731 million in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. That was well shy of forecasts for a surplus of A$1.2 billion and down from the surplus of A$1.257 billion in February.

Exports were down 2 percent on month in March to A$29.033 billion, while imports were roughly flat at A$28.302 billion.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weak against the U.S. dollar. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9273, down slightly from Monday's close of US$0.9280.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Indonesia, Taiwan and Singapore are up marginally. New Zealand is trading notably lower, while Malaysia is slightly weak. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea are closed for Buddha's Birthday, while the Japanese market is closed for Greenery Day.

On Wall Street, stocks ended modestly higher on Monday with traders reacting positively to an upbeat report on service sector activity. The market was a bit weak early as concerns about Ukraine and weak Chinese economic data weighed on sentiment.

The Dow ticked up 17.7 points or 0.1 percent to 16,530.6, the Nasdaq rose 14.2 points or 0.3 percent to 4,138.1 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.5 points or 0.2 percent to 1,884.7.

Major European markets ended mixed on Monday. While the French CAC 40 index edged up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX index dipped by 0.3 percent. The U.K. markets remained closed for a holiday.

U.S. crude oil ended lower on Monday, as some tepid, below expectation manufacturing activity data from China overshadowed the grim situation in eastern Ukraine. Crude for June delivery ended down $0.28 or 0.3 percent at $99.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $100.44 a barrel intraday.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

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