Stocks in Asia were mixed on Tuesday afternoon, as Wall Street slipped overnight and amid geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and the international community.
The Greater China markets lost their earlier gains to land in negative territory in the afternoon. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped by 0.19 percent, while the Shanghai composite shed 0.15 percent and the Shenzhen composite declined by 0.93 percent.
China’s consumer inflation in September rose 2.5 percent compared to a year ago and 0.7 percent higher than August, government data on Tuesday showed. Producer inflation however cooled from gains of 4.1 percent in August — an indication of slowing economic momentum amid escalating trade tensions with the U.S.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced by 0.2 percent in the afternoon, shedding some earlier gains, while the Topix index was largely flat. Shares of Softbank bounced by 2.63 percent following yesterday’s tumble.
South Korea’s Kospi traded largely flat in the afternoon.
The ASX 200 traded higher by 0.53 percent in the afternoon, with most sectors trending higher. The heavily weighted financials subindex saw gains of 0.42 percent with major banks trending higher — Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was higher by 0.39 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was slightly higher while National Australia Bank (NAB) gained 0.39 percent.
NAB had announced additional costs of 314 million Australian dollars ($224 million), which will go toward refunding customers who were overcharged. Australia’s largest financial institutions have been under the spotlight after an inquiry exposed large-scale wrongdoing across the entire sector.
Overnight on Wall Street, the major indexes saw declines, led by tech, continuing from their overall trend last week. The S&P 500 slipped by 0.6 percent to close at 2,750.79 while the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.9 percent to end the trading day stateside at 7,430.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also shed 89.44 points to close at 25,250.55.
Saudi King orders probe
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding missing Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi remained in focus, with markets concerned about the possible impact it could have on oil prices.
In oil markets during the afternoon of Asian trade, prices continued to see an increase despite giving up some gains. The global benchmark Brent crude futures contract increased 0.38 percent to $81.09 per barrel, while the U.S. crude futures contract advanced 0.15 percent to $71.89 per barrel.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi administration, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered an internal investigation, in collaboration with a Turkish team, regarding his disappearance amid an international outcry.
“The Saudi and Turkish leaderships are likely to contain the crisis in bilateral relations triggered by the disappearance of Khoshaggi,” said analysts from Eurasia Group in a note.
“Following days of heightened tensions, King Salman sent to Ankara a senior delegation that was likely headed by his personal envoy Khalid al Faisal,” they said. “The effort behind the scenes is focused on avoiding a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and has succeeded in finding a pathway to deescalate tensions.”
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 95.143 in the afternoon, after sliding from levels above 95.3 yesterday.
The Japanese yen was at 111.96 against the dollar after strengthening from levels above 112.1 yesterday, while the Australian dollar was at $0.7126 after rising from the $0.71 handle in the previous session.