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Asian Markets Mostly Higher


Asian stock markets, led by Japan, are mostly higher on Tuesday, recovering from sharp losses in the previous session despite the mixed cues from Wall Street amid lingering worries about global economic growth. Crude oil prices rose to above $59 a barrel and the Japanese yen also weakened against the U.S. dollar.

The Australian market is flat following the mixed cues from Wall Street. Gains by the major miners were offset by weakness in banks and oil stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 1.30 points or 0.02 percent to 6,127.50, after falling to a low of 6,116.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 0.70 points or 0.01 percent to 6,209.40. Australian shares closed at over one-month lows on Monday.

In the mining space, BHP Group and Rio Tinto are advancing almost 1 percent each, while Fortescue Metals is rising more than 1 percent despite lower copper prices.

Among oil stocks, Oil Search is lower by almost 2 percent, Santos is losing more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is down almost 1 percent after crude oil prices declined overnight.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac - are lower in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent.

Gold miners are mixed even as gold prices jumped overnight. Newcrest Mining is declining 0.5 percent, while Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent.

Wesfarmers has made a A$1.5 billion takeover offer for rare earths miner Lynas Corp. Shares of the conglomerate are losing more than 3 percent, while Lynas has requested a trading halt on its shares pending an announcement on the offer.

Coles Group, spun off from Wesfarmers in November, said it will spend up to A$150 million over the next four years to double the supermarket's home delivery capacity after signing a deal to use technology from UK online supermarket Ocado. Shares of Coles Group are rising more than 2 percent.

Kathmandu Holdings reported a 13.7 percent increase in its first-half profit on a 13.3 percent rise in sales revenue. The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer's shares are adding 0.4 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7111, up from $0.7083 on Monday.

The Japanese market is rising, recovering from sharp losses in the previous session despite the mixed cues from Wall Street. Investors went bargain hunting, while a weaker yen boosted shares of exporters.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is advancing 352.66 points or 1.68 percent to 21,329.77, after touching a high of 21,351.06 earlier. Japanese shares closed notably lower on Monday.

The major exporters are notably higher on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are rising almost 3 percent each, Panasonic is higher by more than 2 percent and Canon is advancing almost 2 percent.

In the tech sector, Tokyo Electron is adding 0.7 percent and Advantest is higher by more than 1 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda is rising more than 2 percent and Toyota is advancing more than 1 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rising more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is gaining almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is higher by more than 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Cyberagent is gaining more than 8 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo and Keisei Electric Railway are higher by more than 4 percent each. Shionogi & Co. and Eisai Co. are rising almost 4 percent each.

On the flip side, Showa Shell Sekiyu and Aozora Bank are declining more than 1 percent each.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 1.1 percent on year in February, shy of expectations for a gain of 1.2 percent following the downwardly revised 1.0 percent increase in January. On a monthly basis, producer prices were up 0.3 percent after sinking 0.6 percent in the previous month.

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

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore and Indonesia are advancing almost 1 percent each, while South Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are also higher. Shanghai is edging lower.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Monday as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid a quiet day on the U.S. economic front. An inversion of the yield curve contributed to economic worries, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note falling below the yield on three-month bills. The inverted yield curve has not occurred since 2007 and is seen by many as an indication that a recession is on the way.

While the Dow inched up 14.51 points or 0.1 percent to 25,516.83, the Nasdaq dipped 5.13 points or 0.1 percent to 7,637.54 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.35 points or 0.1 percent to 2,798.36.

The major European markets showed more modest moves to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices edged lower on Monday, as fears of a drop in energy demand due to a global economic slowdown outweighed optimism over OPEC-led supply cuts and the U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. WTI crude for May ended down $0.22 or 0.4 percent at $58.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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