Asian Shares Mixed On U.S. Rate Uncertainty; Shanghai And Hong Kong Climb

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, with Chinese and Hong Kong markets rallying after a government investment fund said it would expand purchases of stock index funds to counter heavy selling in the Chinese markets.

Regional markets elsewhere were subdued due to heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and concerns over the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Gold edged higher from nearly two-week lows in Asian trading, as the dollar and Treasury yields slipped from recent highs.

Oil prices exhibited a tentative pattern as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken commenced his Middle East tour with a visit to Saudi Arabia.

China's Shanghai Composite Index soared 3.2 percent to 2,789.49 as authorities tightened some trading restrictions for domestic and offshore investors and a state fund vowed to step up fund purchases.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged 4.0 percent to 16,136.87 in anticipation for more forceful Chinese government efforts to end the nation's stock rout.

Japanese markets closed lower as investors assessed domestic earnings reports as well as weak labor cash earnings and household spending data for December.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.5 percent to 36,160.66, while the broader Topix Index settled 0.7 percent lower at 2,539.25.

Automaker Toyota Motor jumped 4.8 percent after posting upbeat third-quarter results and hiking its annual profit forecast.

Seoul stocks fell after comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed officials suggested that rate cuts may come later than anticipated. The Kospi slid 0.6 percent to 2,576.20.

Australian stocks declined as fourth quarter retail sales data disappointed and the Reserve Bank held its key rates steady but left the door open for more rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index fell 0.6 percent to 7,581.60, its lowest since January 29. The broader All Ordinaries Index closed down 0.6 percent at 7,808.90, dragged down by miners. The New Zealand market was closed for Waitangi Day.

U.S. stocks declined overnight, while Treasury yields surged as Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank is unlikely to cut interest rates next month.

Additionally, a measure of U.S. service sector growth hit a four-month high and prices picked up, leading investors to temper rate cut expectations.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent and the Dow dropped 0.7 percent.

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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