Asian stock markets are mostly trading notably higher on Tuesday with investors picking up stocks, betting on hopes that global central banks will soon resort to some monetary easing to revive the economies. Though some of the markets opened on a subdued note following a flat lead from Wall Street, the mood turned positive as the day progressed.
The Australian stock market is trading volatile with investors mostly treading cautiously ahead of the central bank's rate decision.
Consumer discretionary, financial and information technology stocks are finding some support, while energy, industrial and property trusts stocks are trading weak.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,127 after advancing to 4,141.8 in early trades, is currently down 3 points at 4,130. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 4.5 points at 4,168, down from the day's high of 4,180.1.
Metcash is trading lower by about 4 percent. Seek, Bluescope Steel, Challenger, Sims Metal Management and Boart Longyear are down 2 to 3.3 percent.
Woodside Petroleum is down nearly 2 percent. Woodside said it has received approval to sell part of its stake in the Browse gas project to Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsui & Co. The Japanese companies will buy a 14.7 percent stake in the liquefied natural gas project through their Perth-based joint venture company, Japan Australia LNG.
Westfield Retail Trust, Beach Energy, James Hardie Industries, Alumina and Panaust are also trading notably lower.
Boral, News Corporation, QBE Insurance Group, Insurance Australia Group, Suncorp Group, Arium, Incitec Pivot and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are all trading in positive territory with impressive gains.
Perpetual Fund is gaining 1.6 percent. According to reports, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and the relevant Queensland minister have granted approval for Perpetual Investment Management to increase its potential maximum voting power in casinos operator Echo Entertainment Group from 10 percent to 15 percent.
On the economic front, the Reserve Bank of Australia will conclude its monetary policy meeting and then announce its decision on interest rates. The central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold at 3.50 percent.
According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia's building approvals climbed more than expected in May. Dwelling permits in May rose 27.3 percent on a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis. This followed a 7.6 percent decline in the previous month. Economists expected a 5 percent increase in approvals in May.
Despite a none too positive lead from Wall Street, the Japanese stock market moved higher, with investors indulging in some brisk buying at several counters.
Real estate, financial and retail stocks moved up. Shares from marine transport, automobile, pharmaceuticals and non-ferrous metals stocks were mixed.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened marginally up from its previous close, was up 68.7 points or 0.8 percent at 9,072.2 at the end of the morning session.
Among the prominent gainers, Japan Steel Works, Japan Tobacco, Casio Computer and T&D Holdings Inc advanced by over 3 percent.
Tokyu Land, Daiichi Sankyo, Sapporo Holdings, Unitika and Asahi Group Holdings all surged higher by more than 2.5 percent.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Resona Holdings, Shinsei Bank, Nissan Chemical Industries, Mitsubishi Materials, Heiwa Real Estate, Fuji Heavy Industries, Nikon Corp, SMFG and Daiwa Securities Group also posted strong gains.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd shares plunged more than 13 percent following the company cutting its profit forecast and announcing that it will sell shares equivalent to a quarter of its market value.
Fast Retailing shares lost over 2.5 percent following a decline in Uniqlo sales in June. Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK Lines, Mitsumi Electric, Kobe Steel and Hitachi Zosen also drifted lower.
In economic news, the monetary base in Japan was up 5.9 percent on year in June, the Bank of Japan said on Tuesday, standing at 120.214 trillion yen. That follows the 2.4 percent increase in May.
Seasonally adjusted, the monetary base soared 55.8 percent to 119.937 trillion yen. For the second quarter of 2012, the monetary base was up 2.6 percent on year.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid-79 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.65 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are all trading notably higher, while Malaysia and New Zealand are up marginally. Markets across the region had ended mostly higher on Monday.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading on Monday and ended on a mixed note. The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following last Friday's rally. Some weak economic data and light trading activity ahead of the Independence Day holiday also contributed to the lackluster performance.
The Dow edged down 8.7 points or 0.1 percent to 12,871.4, while the Nasdaq rose 16.2 points or 0.6 percent to 2,951.2 and the S&P 500 crept up 3.3 points or 0.3 percent to 1,365.5.
Major European markets moved higher on Monday. The German DAX index rose 1.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index climbed 1.3 percent, while the French CAC 40 index jumped 1.4 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures ended lower on Monday, with investors weighing demand growth prospects on some soft economic data globally while seeking a safe haven in the dollar. Crude for August delivery dropped $1.21 or 1.4 percent to close at $83.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org