(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday with modest losses in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a public holiday. Investors remained cautious amid worries about the U.S.-China trade war after a new round of retaliatory tariffs by the world's two largest economies took effect over the weekend.
The Australian market is edging lower in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street. Investors are cautious as they looked ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy decision due later in the day. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 1.0 percent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 3.10 points or 0.05 percent to 6,576.30, after touching a low of 6,565.40 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 3.30 points or 0.05 percent to 6,674.20. Australian stocks closed lower for the first time in five days on Monday.
In the oil space, Santos and Oil Search are lower by 0.2 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is edging up 0.1 percent.
The big four banks are advancing. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent, while Westpac is rising 0.7 percent.
In the mining sector, Rio Tinto is declining 0.3 percent and BHP Billiton is down 0.1 percent, while Fortescue Metals is rising 0.4 percent.
Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are losing almost 1 percent each.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC has launched civil proceedings against Medibank, accusing the health insurance provider of incorrectly rejecting claims or eligibility enquiries from more than 800 customers. Medibank's shares are down 0.7 percent.
In economic news, Australia also will see July numbers for retail sales and second-quarter figures for current account today.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6718, compared to $0.6731 on Monday.
The Japanese market recovered after a weak start and is modestly higher in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street. Nevertheless, investors remained cautious amid worries about the U.S.-China trade war.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 18.83 points or 0.09 percent to 20,639.02, after touching a low of 20,578.02 in early trades. Japanese shares declined on Monday.
The major exporters are mostly higher on a slightly weaker yen. Sony is advancing 1 percent, Panasonic is adding 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.3 percent, while Canon is lower by 0.3 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is declining more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is adding 0.4 percent. In the auto sector, Honda Motor is adding 0.3 percent and Toyota Motor is rising 0.7 percent.
Toshiba said it has completed the sale of its liquefied natural gas operations in the U.S. to French oil giant Total SA. However, the company's shares are losing almost 1 percent.
Market heavyweight SoftBank is edging up 0.1 percent, while Fast Retailing is lower by 0.3 percent.
Among oil stocks, Japan Petroleum is losing almost 2 percent and Inpex is lower by almost 1 percent.
Among the major gainers, Sumitomo Metal Mining is rising more than 2 percent and Sumco Corp. is higher by 2 percent.
On the flip side, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is losing more than 3 percent.
In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that the monetary base in Japan climbed 2.8 percent on year in August, coming in at 512.511 trillion yen. That follows the 3.7 percent increase in July.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Asia, New Zealand and Singapore are also higher, while Shanghai, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all modestly lower.
The U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
The major European markets closed higher for a third straight session on Monday, thanks to somewhat encouraging euro area manufacturing data that helped offset worries about the U.S.-China trade dispute.
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