BEIJING — Asian stock markets edged up Tuesday after Wall Street slid overnight as investors looked for new drivers for trading activity.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 12 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 21,708.89 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 2.5 points to 3,383.24. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 9 points to 28,315.43 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged at 5,893.70. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.1 per cent to 2,493.46 and India’s Sensex added 0.4 per cent to 32,645.26. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Bangkok and Jakarta also rose while New Zealand and Manila retreated.
WALL STREET: Industrial and technology companies and retailers all stumbled. General Electric suffered its worst one-day loss in six years following downgrades from analysts. Analysts said markets showed an unusual combination of near-record prices and investor calm. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.4 per cent to 2,564.98. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 per cent to 23,273.96. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.6 per cent to 6,586.83.
ANALYST’S QUOTE: “It’s was all quiet on the Western Front in European and U.S. trade and a pause after what has been such a strong run for global equity and credit markets,” said Chris Weston of IG in a report. “Whether the gains can continue this week is obviously yet to be seen, but I remain a bull, but of the view that these markets are tired, fatigued and need new information to fuel the beast.”
CHINA POLITICS: China’s ruling Communist Party is preparing to appoint President Xi Jinping this week to a second five-year term as leader and unveil a new ruling inner circle around him. After spending his first term cementing his status as China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, Xi is widely expected to shift focus to economic policy. In a speech last week, Xi promised to promote entrepreneurial activity but also affirmed party ambitions to build up state-owned companies that dominate banking, energy and other industries. Five of the seven members of the party’s Standing Committee are due to retire under informal age limits, clearing the way for Xi to promote allies.
JAPAN MANUFACTURING: A survey of manufacturers showed activity weakened this month but still grew relatively strongly. The preliminary version of the purchasing managers’ index declined to 52.5 from 52.9 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity accelerating. The output component of the survey declined to 52.6 from 53.2 but still showed activity growing. Other components showed export volume rising.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 7 cents to $51.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Monday to close at $51.90. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 9 cents to $57.46 in London. It fell 38 cents the previous session to $57.37.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 113.35 yen from Monday’s 113.43 yen. The euro gained to $1.1764 from $1.1749.