Asian Markets Mostly Higher

(RTTNews) - Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday following the modest gains overnight on Wall Street despite uncertainty over a U.S.-China trade deal. Investor sentiment was bolstered by news that the Trump administration has issued a new 90-day extension that will allow U.S. companies to continue doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies.

The Australian market is advancing after a weak start amid uncertainty over a U.S.-China trade deal. Investor sentiment was boosted after minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's November monetary policy meeting showed that the central bank had seen a case for cutting the cash rate again this month, but decided to keep it on hold.

At the November meeting, the RBA left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent, as widely expected, after cutting it by a quarter point in October.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 29.20 points or 0.43 percent to 6,796.00, after touching a low of 6,755.00 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 25.30 points or 0.67 percent to 6,897.00. Australian stocks closed lower on Monday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.8 percent.

Oil stocks are also weak after crude oil prices fell overnight. Oil Search is losing 1 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are declining 0.6 percent each.

Woodside Petroleum announced plans to triple its gas and oil reserve base to 3.7 million barrels over the next seven years, with the addition of projects in Australia, Senegal and Myanmar. The company also narrowed its 2019 output guidance.

Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 2 percent and Rio Tinto is adding 0.3 percent, while BHP is down 0.3 percent.

Among gold miners, Newcrest Mining is higher by almost 1 percent and Evolution Mining is adding 0.3 percent after gold prices edged higher overnight.

A2 Milk said it expects its fiscal 2020 earnings margins to be stronger than its previous outlook on strong first-half sales and improved marketing investment in the U.S. and China. The dairy producer's shares are gaining more than 14 percent.

Qantas Airways forecast capital spending of about A$2 billion in fiscal 2020 and expects capacity growth to be little changed in the second half of the year. The airline's shares are rising more than 1 percent.

In economic news, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's November meeting revealed that members of the bank's monetary policy board said the country's gross domestic product growth has hit a turning point and is expected to begin to strengthen gradually on Tuesday.

However, since inflationary pressures remain subdued, historically low interest rates continue to be necessary to reach inflation and employment targets.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6808, up from $0.6811 on Monday.

The Japanese market is declining and the safe-haven yen strengthened despite the modest gains on Wall Street, as investors turned cautious amid uncertainty over a U.S.-China trade deal. CNBC's Beijing Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon reported that Chinese officials have grown pessimistic about the chances for a trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 105.44 points or 0.45 percent to 23,311.32, after touching a low of 23,244.93 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is lower by almost 2 percent and Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Sony is declining more than 1 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are down 0.3 percent each. Panasonic is rising 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is losing almost 1 percent and Advantest is down 0.2 percent. Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is down almost 1 percent and Honda Motor is lower by 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is declining more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.3 percent after crude oil prices declined overnight.

Among the major gainers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Kyowa Kirin are rising more than 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Z Holdings is losing more than 7 percent, Taiyo Yuden is lower by more than 4 percent and Fujikura is declining almost 4 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 108 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong is rising more than 1 percent, while Shanghai, New Zealand, Indonesia and Taiwan are also higher. South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Monday after initially moving to the downside following a tweet from CNBC's Beijing Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon that suggested Chinese officials have grown pessimistic about the chances for a trade deal. However, traders have recently shown a predilection for taking upbeat reports about the trade talks at face value while shrugging off the negative news.

The Dow added 31.26 points or 0.11 percent to 28,036.15, while the Nasdaq gained 9.11 points or 0.11 percent to 8,549.94 and the S&P 500 rose 1.55 points or 0.05 percent to 3,122.01.

The major European markets ended mostly lower on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Monday due to excess supply in the market and on uncertainty over a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China. WTI crude for December delivery slumped $0.67 or about 1.2 percent to $57.05 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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