(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading notably lower on Tuesday with investors pressing sales amid uncertainty about the outlook for the U.S. Federal Reserve's economic stimulus despite last week's announcement by the Fed that it will maintain the pace of its asset purchase program.
The Australian market is trading lower, with key stocks from mining, healthcare and financial sectors reeling under selling pressure. Energy, industrial and consumer staples stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is down 24.5 points or 0.5 percent at 5,228. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 5,224, down 21.8 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are trading lower by 0.5 to 1 percent. Bank of Queensland is down 1.2 percent and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is trading flat.
Top miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are down 0.6 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Caltex Australia are trading weak, while Santos and Origin Energy are up in positive territory, gaining 1.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Mineral Resources Limited shares are down more than 10 percent. Myer Holdings is trading lower by about 3.4 percent, while Duet Group and Sims Metal Management are down by over 2 percent.
PanAust, Sydney Airport, Iluka Resources, Oz Minerals, Arrium, Newcrest Mining and Alumina (AWC) are also trading notably lower.
Meanwhile, Beach Energy, Challenger, Treasury Wine Estates, Monadelphous Group and Leighton Holdings are trading higher, gaining 1.2 to 2.4 percent.
Shares of retailer Kathmandu Holdings are up nearly 12 percent following the company reporting a 27 percent rise in full-year profit at A$39.79 million, thanks to stronger sales and lower costs.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar on the back of a positive report on Chinese manufacturing activity. In early trades, the local unit was quoting at US$0.9432, up from Monday's close of US$0.9419.
The Japanese market opened sharply lower with investors pressing sales, tracking a weak lead from Wall Street. A stronger yen too contributed to the weak start.
Though the market staged a quick recovery with some front line stocks finding some support at lower levels, it faltered again due to a fresh round of selling and was trading notably lower when the morning session ended.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 103.27 points or 0.7 percent at 14,639.15 at the end of the morning session.
Automobile, financial, precision instruments, electric power and insurance stocks declined sharply and were mostly trading lower at the break.
Tokyu Land Corp., Tokyo Tatemono, Hino Motors, Tokyo Dome Corp., T&D Holdings, Isuzu Motors, Nippon Electric Glass and Shinsei Bank were down 3 to 4.5 percent.
Sony Corp. ( SNE ), Yokohama Rubber, Konica Minolta, Inpex Corp., Nikon Corp., Komatsu, Chiba Bank, Bank of Yokohama, Shizuoka Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Canon Inc. ( CAJ ) and Olympus Corp. lost 2 to 3 percent.
Among the gainers, Nisshin Steel Holdings rose more than 7.5 percent. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nichirei Corp., Daikin Industries, Furukawa, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, Shiseido Co., NEC Corp. and Tosoh Corp. gained 1 to 3 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 98 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 98.71 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea are all trading notably lower, while New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan are trading flat.
On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Monday, as traders continued to cash in on some recent strength in the markets.
The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day but still ended the session in negative territory. The Dow dipped 49.7 points or 0.3 percent to 15,401.4, the Nasdaq declined 9.4 points or 0.3 percent to 3,765.3 and the S&P 500 slid 8.1 points or 0.5 percent to 1,701.8.
Major European markets too closed weak on Monday. While the French CAC 40 index lost 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index dropped by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil dropped to end sharply lower for a third straight session on Monday, with supply concerns over shipments from the Middle East easing significantly. Investors also continued to ponder over the possibilities of the Federal Reserve scaling down its $85 billion bond-buying program after its October meeting, while awaiting additional cues from the macroeconomic data due later this week.
Crude for November delivery ended down $1.16 or 1.1 percent to close at $103.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $105.12 a barrel intraday.
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