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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

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Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday despite the weak cues from Wall Street after tech stocks extended losses overnight. Nevertheless, investors are cautious as they look ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement due on Wednesday. Crude oil extended gains in Asian trades.

The Australian market is advancing, shrugging off the negative lead from Wall Street. Gains by banks and oil stocks offset weakness in mining stocks.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 34.80 points or 0.61 percent to 5,712.60, off a high of 5,714.50. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 30.10 points or 0.53 percent to 5,745.60. The Australian market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

In the banking space, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 1.3 percent to 1.9 percent.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is up 0.5 percent, Santos is advancing more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 1 percent.

In the mining sector, BHP Billiton is down 0.5 percent, Rio Tinto is losing 0.4 percent and Fortescue Metals is lower by almost 2 percent.

Gold miners are also weak after gold prices dipped overnight. Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is losing 2 percent.

Crown Resorts said all its employees detained earlier in China have now been formally charged with illegally promoting gambling. The company's shares are edging up less than 0.1 percent.

CSL has agreed to acquire majority stake in Ruide, a plasma-derived therapies manufacturer in China, from Humanwell Healthcare Group for $352 million. The biotechnology company's shares are adding 0.2 percent.

Media company Ten Network's shares are in a two-day trading halt as the company's guarantors said they do not intend to extend or increase their support for Ten Network's credit facilities after the term ends in December 2017.

Shares of Bellamy's Australia are also in a trading halt ahead of an announcement of capital raising and acquisition by the infant formula maker.

On the economic front, Australia will see May figures for the indexes for business confidence and business conditions, in addition to April figures for credit card purchases and balances.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision. In early trades, the local unit was trading at US$0.7541, up from US$0.7539 on Monday.

The Japanese market is modestly lower, fluctuating in early trade, following the weak cues overnight from Wall Street and a stronger yen.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 10.46 points or 0.05 percent to 19,898.12, off a low of 19,850.86.

Among the major exporters, Toshiba is gaining almost 4 percent, Canon is adding 0.2 percent and Panasonic is edging up less than 0.1 percent. Sony is losing almost 0.5 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is edging up less than 0.1 percent and Honda is adding 0.4 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 0.1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.2 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is adding almost 2 percent and JXTG Holdings is rising almost 3 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the other major gainers, TDK Corp. is rising more than 3 percent, while Kubota Corp. and Taiyo Yuden are gaining almost 3 percent each. On the flip side, IHI Corp., Comsys Holdings and Furukawa Electric are declining more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see second-quarter results for the large manufacturing and all industry indexes from BSI.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the 110 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Taiwan are modestly higher. Meanwhile, Shanghai and Malaysia are edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower on Monday partly due to profit taking, with traders cashing in on some of the recent strength in the markets. Traders also looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement scheduled to Wednesday.

The Dow edged down 36.30 points or 0.2 percent to 21,235.67, the Nasdaq fell 32.45 points or 0.5 percent to 6,175.46, and the S&P 500 dipped 2.38 points or 0.1 percent to 2,429.39.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index slumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 1.1 percent.

Crude oil futures remained steady Monday, trimming some of last week's losses despite further signs of robust U.S. production. July WTI oil gained $0.25 or 0.6 percent to settle at $46.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

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