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Asian Markets Mostly Lower

asiancommentary dec21 17feb20 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday in the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a public holiday, and as tech giant Apple warned it does not expect to achieve its revenue forecast for the March quarter due to disruptions in China from the coronavirus. Shares of Apple suppliers in Asian are notably lower.

The Australian market is modestly lower in the absence of cues from Wall Street and as investors digested mostly weak corporate earnings results from major companies.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 12.70 points or 0.18 percent to 7,112.40, after touching a low of 7,096.80 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 14.40 points or 0.20 percent to 7,206.80. Australian stocks closed marginally lower on Monday.

In the tech space, Shares of Altium are falling more than 14 percent after the design software company warned that its revenue for the full year is expected to be at the lower end of its guidance range due to the impact of the coronavirus in China.

Appen is losing more than 4 percent and Wisetech Global is lower by 2 percent.

The major miners are higher. Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto are rising more than 1 percent each. Rio Tinto lowered its outlook for the volume of full-year iron ore shipments from the Pilbara region after tropical cyclone Damien hit Australia's west coast.

BHP reported a 29 percent increase in statutory profit for the first half of the year and said it will pay a higher interim dividend compared to last year. The mining giant's shares are advancing 1 percent.

In the banking space, Westpac, ANZ Banking and Commonwealth Bank are advancing in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent, while National Australia Bank is down 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are lower. Oil Search is lower by almost 1 percent, Woodside Petroleum is declining 0.5 percent and Santos is down 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are also weak. Newcrest Mining is losing more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is down 0.5 percent.

Seven West Media reported a first-half statutory loss on lower revenues and said it will not pay an interim dividend. The media company's shares are falling more than 17 percent.

Coles reported a nearly 34 percent decrease in statutory profit for the first half of the year and said group earnings will include a A$20 million provision after the company underpaid managers at its supermarket and liquor divisions over the past six years. The supermarket giant's shares are down 0.2 percent.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at $0.6710, compared to $0.6729 on Monday.

The Japanese market is notably lower in the absence of any cues from Wall Street and as Apple warned it does not expect to achieve its revenue forecast for the March quarter.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 235.20 points or 1.00 percent to 23,288.04, after touching a low of 23,252.81 earlier. Japanese stocks touched a more than one week low on Monday.

Among Apple suppliers, Murata Manufacturing and TDK Corp. are losing almost 4 percent each, while Alps Alpine is declining more than 3 percent after Apple warned it does not expect to meet its quarterly revenue forecast.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is lower by almost 4 percent, while Fast Retailing is advancing almost 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Sony is lower by almost 3 percent, Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is declining almost 1 percent and Canon is down 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 6 percent and Tokyo Electron is lower by more than 5 percent.

Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is adding 0.4 percent, while Toyota Motor is declining almost 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is losing almost 2 percent and Inpex is down 0.3 percent.

Among the major gainers, Cyberagent is gaining almost 3 percent and Recruit Holdings is advancing almost 2 percent.

Conversely, Taiyo Yuden and Sumco Corp. are losing more than 6 percent, while Screen Holdings and M3 are lower by more than 4 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 109 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Hong Kong are losing more than 1 percent each, while Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia are also lower. New Zealand and Indonesia are modestly higher.

Overnight, the U.S. markets were closed for the President's Day holiday.

The major European markets ended higher on Monday. The U.K's FTSE 100 advanced 0.33 percent, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 gained 0.29 percent and 0.27 percent, respectively.

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