Asian stock markets are mostly trading notably lower on Tuesday with investors pressing sales amid renewed worries about the financial situation in Europe and its likely impact on the global economy.
Markets across the region had moved higher on Monday amid slightly easing concerns about European economy following the European Union agreeing on a rescue package to rescue Spain's banking system.
The Australian market, which had an extended weekend due to a holiday for Queen's Birthday on Monday, is the lone market in the Asian region to trade in positive territory at present. However, with investors mostly treading a cautious path, gains are just modest in the market.
Financial, healthcare, industrial and information technology stocks are finding support, while mining, energy and property trusts stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which edged down a bit in early trades but rallied to 4,085.6 subsequently, is currently trading at 4,074, up 10.3 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 8.8 points or 0.2 percent at 4,120, off the day's high of 4,131.2.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Wetpac are up 0.5 to 1 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 1.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are trading notably lower and Newcrest Mining is down marginally. Fortescue Metals is trading in positive territory, gaining nearly a percent.
In the energy space, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. Santos is trading marginally higher, while Woodside Petroleum and Caltex Australia are trading weak.
Qantas Airways is gaining more than 9.5 percent. Bluescope Steel is trading higher by over 4.5 percent.
Seven West Media is gaining more than 3.5 percent. Downer EDI, James Hardie Industries, Seek, Tatts Group, Toll Holdings, Perseus Mining, Orica, Monadelphous Group, AMP and Incitec Pivot are trading higher by 2 to 3 percent.
Tabcorp Holdings, WorleyParsons, Sims Metal Management, Campbell Brothers, Seek and Perseus Mining are also trading notably higher.
Aquarius Platinum is down as much as 8.5 percent. Boart Longyear, Beach Energy, Paladin Energy and Westfield Group are also trading notably lower.
Fairfax Media announced that revenue for the six months to June 30 is expected to be eight percent lower than in the same period in the previous year. The company expects underlying earnings for the year to June 30 to be about A$500 million, down from A$607.4 million in the previous year.
Shares of casino operator Echo Entertainment Limited are under a trading halt. The company will announce details of a capital raising venture during the day.
Alesco has reportedly rejected a A$188 million takeover offer from paint maker DuluxGroup, saying the offer was too low. DuluxGroup had offered A$2 per Alesco share, but Alesco said an independent expert had valued the company at between A$2.23 and A$2.52 per share.
On the economic front, Australia's total personal finance loans rose 0.6 percent in April, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Seasonally-adjusted personal finance commitments increased to A$7.299 billion in April, up from A$7.252 billion in March, the bureau said.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar was trading at US$0.9886 agasint the U.S. dollar, around noon. On Friday, the Aussie had closed at 0.9859 against the greenback.
The Japanese stock market drifted lower with investors switching over to the selling mode, amid renewed worries about the financial situation in the eurozone and its likely impact on the global economy.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which plunged to 8,453 in early trades, was down 110.1 points or 1.3 percent, at 8,514.8 at the end of the morning session.
Shares from electric machinery, automobile, chemicals, retail, foods and non-ferrous metals sections were mostly down in negative territory at the break. Electric power stocks bucked the trend to an extent.
Nippon Sheet Glass, Nisshin Steel, JFE Holdings, Mazda Motor, JX Holdings, Panasonic Corp, Showa Denko KK, Taiyo Yuden, Ricoh, Pioneer Corp and Mitsui Chemicals drifted down by 3 to 5 percent.
Nippon Electric Glass, Nomura Holdings, Nippon Steel Corp, Sumitomo Chemicals, Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Nippon Light Metal, Casio Computer, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp lost more than 2 percent before regaining some lost ground on modest support at lower levels.
Among the few stocks that are bucking the trend, Japan Tobacco, Nicheri Corp, Tokyo Tatemono and Sumco Corp posted modest gains.
In economic news, an index measuring tertiary industry activity in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent on month in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Tuesday, standing at 98.3. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 0.3 percent following the 0.6 percent decline in March.
According to a report from the Bank of Japan, the index measuring the prices for domestic corporate goods was down 0.4 percent on month in May, standing at 105.0. That matched forecasts following the downwardly revised 0.2 percent increase in April - which was originally called higher by 0.3 percent.
On a yearly basis, the index fell 0.5 percent versus forecasts for a 0.4 percent contraction following the downwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in the previous month.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 79 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.21 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are all trading notably lower, while Malaysia is down marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower on Monday, with investors questioning whether the aid package announced by European Union on Saturday represents a long-term fix to the euro-zone debt crisis. The mood was positive early on, but the market soon lost its momentum and dipped into the red.
The Dow ended down 143 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 12,411.2. The S&P 500 retreated 16.7 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 1,308.9 and the Nasdaq dipped 48.7 points, or 1.7 percent, to end at 2,809.7.
Major European markets too ended lower on Monday. The French CAC 40 index lost about 0.3 percent, while the German DAX index closed lower by 0.2 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Monday, extending its slide to a third successive session, on demand growth concerns. Oil prices had moved up earlier in the day on data that China's oil imports surged in May.
Crude for July delivery dropped $1.40 or 1.7 percent to close at $82.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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