Asian Markets Mixed

Asian stock markets are mixed on Tuesday after extending gains from the previous session on broadly positive lead from Wall Street overnight. The continued pullback in treasury yields eased recent concerns about the outlook for interest rates. Asian markets closed higher on Monday.

The Australian stock market is extending gains on Tuesday from the previous session, with the S&P/ASX 200 moving above the 6,800 level boosted by gains among financials and materials. The lead from Wall Street is also broadly positive.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 1.90 points or 0.03 percent to 6,791.50, after rising to a high of 6,860.70. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 4.20 points or 0.06 percent to 7,038.50. Australian stocks closed notably higher on Monday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is adding almost 2 percent and Fortescue Metals and BHP Group are advancing nearly 1 percent.

Oil stocks are lower after crude oil drifter lower on Monday. Oil Search is losing almost 2 percent, while Santos and Woodside Petroleum are lower by more than 1 percent each.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking is advancing almost 2 percent, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are gaining nearly 1 percent each. Westpac is edging up 0.3 percent.

Gold miners are lower as the precious metal fell overnight. Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining are down almost 1 percent.

In economic news, data from the Australian National University showed that Chinese investment in Australia shrank by more than 60% in 2020. Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply last year.

The total number of building permits issued in Australia in January tumbled by a seasonally adjusted 19.4 percent on month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday – coming in at 15,926. That was well shy of expectations for a decline of 3.0 percent following the 12.0 percent drop in December. On a yearly basis, overall permits were up 19.0 percent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also said that Australia posted a current account surplus of A$14.523 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. That beat expectations for a surplus of A$13.1 billion following the A$10.71 billion surplus in the previous three months.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates. The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low 0.10 percent.

The Japanese stock market is declining on Tuesday, after the benchmark Nikkei 225 climbed back towards the 30,000 level in early trades. The market was upbeat on hopes for economic recovery as Japan prepares to ease restrictions in some areas.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 29,554.75, down 108.75 points or 0.37 percent, after touching a high of 29,996.39 earlier.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing 0.5 percent, and Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing 0.2 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing nearly 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.4 percent.

The major exporters mixed. Canon and Panasonic are higher by more than 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are losing almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Tokai Carbon is rising more than 4 percent, while Nexon isgaining almost 3 percent. Haseko, Hitachi Zosen, Terumo, Ricoh and Sumco are higher by more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Mitsui OSK Lines and Pacific Metals are losing more than 4 percent each, while Z Holding is lower by nearly 4 percent. Nippon Sheet Glass, Tokyo Electric Power, Nippon Paper Industries and ANA Holdings are declining more 3 percent each.

In economic news, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent in January, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said on Tuesday. That was unchanged from the December reading and shy of expectations for 3.0 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 106 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Taiwan are advancing more than 1 percent after a holiday, while Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher. Hong Kong and China are lower.

On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply higher in trading on Monday, with the major averages all showing strong moves to the upside buoyed by data showing a notable surge in manufacturing activity in the country, and on rising hopes about additional stimulus after the House passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Saturday.

All the major averages ended the session with handsome gains. The Dow moved up 603.14 points or 1.95 percent to settle at 31,535.51, the S&P 500 climbed 90.67 points or 2.38 percent to 3,901.82, and the Nasdaq closed stronger by 396.48 points or 3.01 percent at 13,588.83.

The major European markets ended sharply higher on Monday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX all advanced 1.6 percent each.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Monday, weighed down by a likely move by major oil producers to increase crude output from April. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.86 or 1.4 percent at $60.64 a barrel.

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