(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are trading in negative territory on Tuesday, tracking the overnight cues from Wall Street, where stocks ended sharply lower ahead of a tough corporate earnings season.
Selling pressure was generated on Wall Street by remarks from Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart, who said he would support a continued reduction in stimulus.
The Australian stock market opened lower following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street. Banking and mining stocks were trading lower, while gold miners bucked the trend and traded in positive territory.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 51.30 points or 0.97 percent to 5,240.80, off the day's low of 5236.20. The broader All Ordinaries Index is losing 49.10 points or 0.93 percent to 5,247.70.
Among the top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 1.1 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO) is losing 0.84 percent and Fortescue Metals is trading lower by 0.49 percent.
Forge Group is trading lower by 12 percent after the company announced a $28 million profit write-down of its West Angelas Power Station, used by miner Rio Tinto.
However, gold miners were trading higher following an increase in gold prices overnight. Newcrest Mining is adding 0.56 percent and Kingsgate Consolidated is surging 3.3 percent.
In the banking space, ANZ Banking is declining 0.62 percent, Westpac (WBK) is losing 0.78 percent, Commonwealth Bank is trading lower by 0.77 percent and National Australia Bank is down 1 percent.
Freight rail operator Asciano is losing more than 1 percent. The company said Monday that it has entered into a 12-year rail haulage agreement with Whitehaven Coal Mining that will reduce costs. The deal is effective from January 2014 and will expire in June 2026.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar continued to rally against the U.S. dollar on the back of weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data announced last Friday. In early-morning trades Tuesday, the local unit was trading at $0.9059, up from $0.9028 on Monday.
The Japanese market is trading sharply lower on Tuesday, tracking the negative cues overnight from Wall Street, while a stronger yen weighed on exporters. The Japanese market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.
In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 389.41 points or 2.45 percent to 15,522.65, after earlier touching a low of 15,475.11.
In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (MTU) is declining 2.6 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (SMFG) is down 2.04 percent and Mizuho Financial Group ( MFG ) is trading lower by 2.95 percent.
Among automakers, Toyota Motor (TM) is losing 1.96 percent, Honda Motor ( HMC ) is declining 3.4 percent and Mazda Motor is trading lower by 2.65 percent.
Whiskey and beer maker Suntory Holdings is gaining 1.07 percent after the company said Monday that it has agreed to buy distilled spirits maker Beam Inc. ( BEAM ) in a deal worth about $16 billion. Beam's lineup of products includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark whiskies as well as Sauza tequila.
Japanese engineering group JGC Group is gaining 2.47 percent after the company said it has won an order from Chevron Corp. ( CVX ) to build one of the largest liquefied natural gas production facilities in Canada, that is expected to produce 11 million tons of LNG a year. JCG will work with U.S. company Fluor Corp. ( FLR ) on the project in the Kitimat region, 650 kilometers north of Vancouver.
Among the other major gainers, Toho Co. is advancing 1.5 percent, Chiyoda Corp is adding 1.48 percent, Suzuki Motor is up 1.41 percent and Sumitomo Metal Mining is gaining 0.51 percent.
Among exporters, Sony Corp. (SNE) is down 3 percent, Fanuc is losing 2.25 percent and Sharp Corp. is declining 5.16 percent.
Meanwhile, Dainippon Sumitomo is losing 5.6 percent, Alps Electric is down 5.10 percent, JTEKT Corp is declining 5.07 percent and Dainippon Screen Manufacturing is trading lower by 4.9 percent.
On the economic front, Japan posted a current account deficit of 592.8 billion yen in November, sliding into the red for the second straight month, the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday. The headline figure was well shy of forecasts for a shortfall of 368.9 billion yen following the 127.9 billion yen deficit in October.
The current account shortfall also ballooned 230.1 percent on year versus expectations for an increase of 74.2 percent following the 130.4 percent decline a month earlier.
The trade balance reflected a deficit of 1,254.3 billion yen - also missing forecasts for a shortfall of 1,236.4 billion yen after posting a deficit of 1,091.9 billion yen in the previous month.
Also on Tuesday, the Bank of Japan said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.6 percent on year in December, standing at 411.449 trillion yen. That follows the 2.4 percent increase in November.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 103-yen range on Tuesday. The dollar is trading at 103.27 yen, down 1.69 yen from Friday.
Among the other Asian markets, Hong Kong, Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan are all trading lower. The Malaysian and Indonesian stock markets are closed for public holidays on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower on Monday, continuing its lackluster performance over the past few sessions.
Last Friday's disappointing jobs report may have weighed on the markets, as the data has introduced some uncertainty regarding the economic outlook. Selling pressure was also generated by remarks from Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart, who said he would support a continued reduction in stimulus.
The Dow tumbled 179.11 points or 1.1 percent to 16,257.94, the Nasdaq plunged 61.36 points or 1.5 percent to 4,113.30 and the S&P 500 plummeted 23.17 points or 1.3 percent to 1,819.20.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on Monday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both ended the day up by 0.3 percent.
U.S. crude oil ended sharply lower Monday, as oversupply concerns resurfaced after Iran reached a deal on its nuclear program with major Western powers last weekend. Added to the expectation that Libya would return to normal production and export of its crude oil, prices came under pressure with a looming oversupply scenario globally.
Crude Oil futures for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, dropped $0.92 or 1.0 percent to close at $91.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org