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Asian Markets Mixed Amid Cautious Trades

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Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday following the modest gains overnight on Wall Street. Investors are cautious as they look ahead to earnings results from major companies as well as key economic data due later this week for directional cues.

The Australian market is flat following the modest gains on Wall Street and on caution ahead of the release of minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy meeting held earlier in July. Gains by mining stocks were offset by weakness in the financial sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 4.00 points or 0.06 percent to 6,657.00, after rising to a high of 6,665.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 5.90 points or 0.09 percent to 6,752.10. Australian stocks closed lower on Monday.

The major miners are mostly higher. Fortescue Metals is advancing almost 3 percent and BHP Group is adding 0.7 percent, while Rio Tinto is lower by 0.2 percent.

Rio Tinto reported a 3.5 percent decrease in iron ore shipments for the second quarter, but maintained its full-year shipment outlook. The miner also indicated a delay of up to 30 months for the start of sustainable production and extra costs of up to $1.9 billion at its Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

Gold miners are also higher after gold prices edged higher. Evolution Mining is advancing more than 1 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Woodside Petroleum is declining more than 1 percent and Oil Search is adding 0.4 percent, while Santos is unchanged after crude oil prices declined overnight.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is edging higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7039, compared to $0.7033 on Monday.

The Japanese market is declining despite the modest gains on Wall Street, as investors returning from a three-day weekend turned cautious as they looked ahead to the release of earnings results from major companies this week. In addition, a stronger yen weighed on exporters' shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 79.46 points or 0.37 percent to 21,606.44 after touching a low of 21,572.45 earlier. The Japanese market was closed for the Marine Day holiday on Monday.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Sony is losing more than 2 percent, Panasonic is lower by more than 1 percent, Canon is declining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down 0.2 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is lower by 0.2 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the auto space, Honda Motor is adding 0.4 percent and Toyota Motor are higher by more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.2 percent after crude oil prices ended lower overnight.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is down more than 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is adding 0.3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Sapporo Holdings is rising more than 4 percent, Toho Co. is gaining almost 3 percent and Oki Electric Industry is higher by more than 2 percent.

On the flip side, Casio Computer is lower by more than 3 percent, while FamilyMart UNY and Japan Post are declining more than 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen range on Tuesday.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Monday in choppy trading reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Citigroup. Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of other big-name companies.

The Dow inched up 27.13 points or 0.1 percent to 27,359.16, the Nasdaq rose 14.04 points or 0.2 percent to 8,258.19 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,014.30.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil futures declined on Monday, as concerns about energy demand growth outweighed somewhat positive factory output and retail sales data out of China. WTI crude for August ended down $0.63 or about 1.1 percent at $59.58 a barrel.

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