Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as a sell-off deepened in some of China’s most vibrant sectors and investors awaited the outcome of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting for any new hints about when the U.S. central bank would pare back stimulus.
U.S. earnings also remained on investors’ radar, with tech giants Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet all reporting their quarterly results this week.
Chinese stocks fell sharply to extend losses from the previous session as concerns about Beijing’s clampdown on education tech firms and its property market weighed.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 86.26 points, or 2.5 percent, at 3,381.18 after spending much of the morning in positive territory. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 1,105.89 points, or 4.2 percent, to 25,086.43.
Japanese shares advanced as investors cheered upbeat earnings from corporate America. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 136.93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 27,970.22 but failed to close above the key 28,000 level for a second straight session. The broader Topix closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,938.04.
Airlines rallied the most, with both Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings climbing around 3.3 percent. Sumitomo Metal Mining surged 4.5 percent and Nippon Suisan Kaisha gained 4 percent. Rakuten Group plunged 7.3 percent after a ratings downgrade.
Australian markets eked out modest gains, as firm commodity prices helped lift mining and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index hit another record high before ending the session up 37.10 points, or half a percent, at 7,431.40.
The broader All Ordinaries Index rose 33.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,704 as Victoria State looked set to ease its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions as planned beginning Tuesday night.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto jumped 2.8 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively after iron ore and copper prices rose overnight. OZ Minerals soared 6.5 percent after raising its annual gold output forecast.
BlueScope jumped 6.4 percent after the steel manufacturer said it expects to beat its second half guidance. Santos and Woodside Petroleum rose 1-2 percent as oil prices inched up in Asian trading on expectations of tight supply.
Oil Search dropped half a percent after reporting a decline in oil and gas production in the June quarter. Tech stocks lost ground, with Afterpay, Appen and Xero falling 2-3 percent.
Seoul stocks rebounded on the back of positive economic data and optimism for strong earnings growth. South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 1,300s for the second straight day, fueling hopes for a recovery in the economy and corporate earnings.
The Kospi edged up 7.58 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,232.53. Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics rose 1.6 percent and leading chemical firm LG Chem rallied 2.2 percent.
South Korea’s GDP climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2021, the Bank of Korea said in an advance estimate. That was in line with expectations following the 1.7 percent growth in the previous three months.
New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index ending down 82.92 points, or 0.7 percent, at 12,590.31. A2 Milk slumped 4 percent to $6.41, taking its slide so far this week to more than 10 percent on concerns that its sales may be impacted by increased regulation in China. Industrial machinery maker ikeGPS Group rallied 2.6 percent after reporting a 12 percent rise in its quarterly revenue.
U.S. stocks hit fresh record closing highs overnight as upbeat earnings news along with continued optimism about the economy offset lingering concerns about the spread of new coronavirus variants.
The Dow and the S&P 500 edged up around 0.2 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index inched up marginally.
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