Asian markets mixed following US political uncertainty, trade tensions

Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday afternoon, following the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s fall overnight amid political uncertainty in the U.S.

Mainland China markets remained down following Monday’s public holiday. The Shanghai composite was lower by 0.76 percent in the afternoon while the Shenzhen composite also slipped by around 0.68 percent.

In Australia, the ASX 200 recovered from its earlier losses to trade largely flat, with the heavily weighted financial sector seeing greater losses of 0.57 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia shares traded lower by 1.01 percent while Westpac Banking Corp made a slight recovery but remained down by about 1 percent.

The Nikkei 225 largely held on to its earlier gains to trade up by 0.11 percent, with semiconductor manufacturer Tokyo Electron rising 2.61 percent.

Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea are closed for public holidays.

Oil industry sees broad gains amid higher crude prices

Oil producers largely saw gains on Tuesday following yesterday’s increase in crude prices. In Australia, Beach Energy saw its stock jumping by 5.19 percent in afternoon trade, while Santos also saw an increment of 2.66 percent.

Over in Japan, shares of refiner Cosmo Energy increased by 2.48 percent, with Japan Petroleum Exploration also seeing gains of 0.74 percent.

In the oil markets, prices continued ticking up in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.31 percent at $81.45 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures saw an increase of 0.24 percent at $72.25 per barrel.

On Monday, Brent crude prices spiked by more than 3 percent on the back of both Saudi Arabia and Russia ruling out any immediate increase in oil production.

Wall Street hit by political turmoil in U.S. and concerns over trade with China

In market action overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 181.45 points to close at 26,562.05. The S&P 500 also slid by 0.4 percent to close at 2,919.37, while the Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend and rose 0.1 percent to 7,993.25.

The moves stateside came on the back of reports that U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was on the verge of resigning or being fired. The White House later released a statement saying Rosenstein and President Donald Trump “will meet on Thursday” amid the conflicting media reports.

The U.S.-China trade war also remains a focus for markets, with the two economic powerhouses exchanging trade blows on Monday as new tariffs went into effect. China had earlier rejected an invitation by the U.S. to restart trade negotiations.


In currency news, the Japanese yen continued to trade slightly weaker at 112.84 against the dollar, while the Australian dollar weakened at $0.7242, as of 12:07 p.m. HK/SIN.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 94.326 as of 12:08 p.m. HK/SIN, still off an earlier high.

Source: CNBC