Asia Markets: Asian stocks mixed; Nikkei down slightly as dollar sags

Asia Markets: Asian stocks mixed; Nikkei down slightly as dollar sags

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Tuesday, as Chinese stocks largely rose while Japanese and Australian indexes slipped

Japan‘s Nikkei NIK, -0.03%   was 0.1% lower in morning trading, continuing Monday’s yen-fueled underperformance as the dollar’s losing streak hit five days. The latest drop came after President Donald Trump raised some concerns about the Fed’s rate-hike cycle. The dollar has hit eight-week lows in Asian trading, falling to ¥109.84 versus ¥110.07 in late New York action and ¥110.60 when Tokyo stock trading ended Monday. The U.S. dollar has fallen in 10 of the past 14 sessions versus the yen through Monday. However, the Nikkei has been holding up rather well with just a 1.6% decline in August as of Monday’s close. Insurance and shipping shares lagged Tuesday, as did big names such as Toyota 7203, -0.44%  , SoftBank 9984, -0.26%   and Fujitsu 6702, -0.41%  .

Chinese stocks opened mostly higher after a roller-coaster ride Monday, with big caps outperforming most other indexes in the region. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.42%   was up 0.5%, after rebounding 1.1% Monday, while the small-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +1.31%   was up 0.2%. Financials again led the gains while energy lagged.

Hong Kong stocks gave up early gains, as Tencent 0700, +0.06%   took a breather following its days-long rebound, while insurers took the lead. The Hang Seng HSI, +0.42%   was last about flat. AIA 1299, +1.56%   jumped a further 1.5% ahead of its first-half report, while Ping An 2318, +2.24%   and China Life 2628, +0.65%   were up some 1%. Meanwhile, smartphone-component makers AAC 2018, +5.92%   and Sunny Optical 2382, +7.06%   each bounced more than 3% following their recent swoons, and CSPC Pharma 1093, +10.89%   rebounded some 5% more to extend its post-earnings gain.

Korea’s Kospi was up 0.3% after barely rising Monday, as Samsung 005930, +2.05%   and SK Hynix 000660, +3.75%   posted solid gains, while Hyundai Motor 005380, -2.35%   tumbled 2%.

Australian stocks have been an Asia-Pacific outperformer the past few months, with the country’s benchmark hitting 10½-year highs at a time others in the region are down for 2018. But the ASX 200 XJO, -0.84%   was the noted laggard Tuesday with a 0.8% drop on broad declines. Leading the way is materials, coming after a muted earnings report from mining heavyweight BHP BHP, -1.63%   In New Zealand, the NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.00%   rose after setting a record closing high the previous day.

Singapore’s benchmark index STI, -0.02%   lagged, while Taiwan Y9999, +0.65%   and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.16%   gained.

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