Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading

Asian stocks ended mixed in cautious trading on Tuesday amid lingering global trade tensions and rising geopolitical risks in the Middle East.

Investors also waited to take cues from upcoming corporate earnings and the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due Wednesday.

Chinese stocks gave up early gains to end lower after the release of inflation data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 21.77 points or 0.9 percent to 2,546.33, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed marginally higher at 25,462.26.

Consumer prices in China were up 2.5 percent year-on- year in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was in line with expectations and up from 2.3 percent in August.

The statistics bureau also said producer prices climbed an annual 3.6 percent, exceeding forecasts for 3.5 percent but down from 4.1 percent in the previous month.

Japanese shares rallied as bargain hunters lapped up index heavyweights in an oversold market. The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 277.94 points or 1.3 percent to 22,549.24, after tumbling 1.8 percent on Monday. The broader Topix index closed 0.7 percent higher at 1,687.91.

Market heavyweights Fast Retailing and SoftBank Corp soared 4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, while automakers Toyota Motor and Honda Motor rose 1-2 percent on a weaker yen.

Retailers underperformed, with Takashimaya Co. and Isetan Mitsukoshi both falling around 1 percent on worries about slowing domestic personal consumer and weak Chinese demand.

Australian shares closed higher, led by banks and miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 32.80 points or 0.6 percent to 5,869.90 after a six-day sell-off, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 29.80 points or 0.5 percent at 5,977.80.

National Australia Bank rose 0.6 percent after saying it would incur after-tax costs of A$314 million ($308.2 million) relating to customer compensation costs for poor banking practices. The other three major banks gained between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent.

Rio Tinto advanced 1.6 percent after releasing quarterly production figures. Rival BHP Billiton added 1.7 percent ahead of its first-quarter production report due on Wednesday.

Whitehaven Coal rallied 1.5 percent despite its equity coal sales falling 14 percent in the September quarter. Gold miner Evolution Mining jumped 2 percent and Newcrest Mining climbed 3.3 percent after gold prices rose to a three-month high overnight.

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s October meeting released earlier in the day showed policymakers expect global economic conditions to remain positive despite downside risks.

Seoul stocks ended on a flat note as concerns over trade tensions and rising interest rates lingered. The benchmark Kospi swung between gains and losses before ending virtually unchanged at 2,145.12. Automakers advanced in an otherwise lackluster market, with industry leader Hyundai Motor rallying 2.6 percent.

New Zealand shares finished modestly lower, dragged down by financials such as ANZ and Westpac Banking Corp. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 34.62 points or 0.4 percent to 8,803.45.

Consumer prices in New Zealand climbed 0.9 percent sequentially in the third quarter of 2018, Statistics New Zealand said in a report. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.7 percent and was up from 0.4 percent in the three months prior.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in the red overnight, as data on retail sales and New York manufacturing activity painted a mixed picture of the world’s largest economy.

The Dow slid 0.4 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.9 percent.

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