Asian stocks mostly declined on Tuesday amid dampened expectations on the Fed cutting rates this month.
Mainland China shares continued to fall after losses on Monday. The Shanghai composite edged down 0.57%, while the Shenzhen component declined 0.50%. The Shenzhen composite shed 0.49%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8%. The city’s leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the controversial extradition bill that led to widespread anger and massive protests in the Asian financial hub “is dead.”
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was almost flat, while the Kospi in South Korea edged up 0.1%. Tensions between those two countries looked set to continue with Japan’s industry minister on Tuesday saying that Japan was “not thinking at all” of withdrawing restrictions on Japanese high-tech exports to South Korea.
Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.24%. Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.52%.
Meanwhile, investors are keeping an eye on testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell due Wednesday. It follows a stronger-than-expected jobs report in the U.S. that raised questions about whether the Fed will cut interest rates.
“The fate of stocks will be closely linked to rates pricing with stocks having rallied strongly on aggressive Fed rate cut expectations. US earnings season is also a focus, with the season kicking off next week,” said Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at the National Australia Bank.
“Under focus will be whether trade tensions are weighing further on profit growth,” he said, adding there may already be headwinds as he referred to sharply falling Apple iPhone sales in India.
Stocks in the U.S. fell overnight as Apple shares lost more than 2%, pressuring the broader tech sector.
An analyst at Rosenblatt Securities downgraded the tech giant’s stock to sell from neutral, saying the company will “face fundamental deterioration over the next 6 to 12 months.”
Apple suppliers in Asia Pacific are in focus on Tuesday. Those in Japan fell, with TDK losing 1.74% and Nidec declining 1.45%. Alps Alpine dropped 1.44%.
Suppliers in Taiwan also fell across the board. Shares of Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, declined 1.14%, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company declined 0.41%. Catcher Technology plunged 1.73%.
In other company news, nine Chinese companies, among the first to list on China’s Nasdaq-style tech board, announced prices of their new share offer on Tuesday, as investors braced for a busy week for initial public offerings (IPOs). Those include China Railway Signal & Communications, Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment and Ningbo Ronbay New Energy Technology.
Oil prices fell on Tuesday morning during Asia hours as demand concerns took hold over tensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. crude futures declined 0.37% to $57.44 per barrel, while Brent crude futures dropped 0.30% to $63.92 per barrel.
The dollar last traded at 97.379 against a basket of its peers, climbing from levels below 96.800 in the previous week. The Japanese yen traded at 108.72, weakening from levels near 107.60 last week while the Australian dollar fetched $0.6959, after falling from previous levels near $0.7020.