HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed Tuesday following another heavy sell-off on Wall Street, with Tokyo taking a thumping as traders returned from a long weekend to a much stronger yen.
With confidence in the state of the global economy knocked by a series of weak data, oil prices are struggling at multi-year lows with traders worried about a possible supply glut.
Tokyo tumbled 2.38 per cent, or 364.04 points, to a two-month low of 14,936.51, with exporters hit by the yen’s advance. Shanghai lost 0.28 per cent, or 6.53 points, to end at 2,359.48 and Hong Kong fell 0.41 per cent, or 95.41 points to 23,047.97.
But Seoul ended 0.11 per cent higher, adding 2.04 points to 1,929.25, and Sydney rallied 1.01 per cent, or 51.9 points, to close at 5,207.4.
Global markets have been struggling of late as a string of weak data from Japan, China and the eurozone has fanned fears about the global economy, while the Federal Reserve also said it was concerned about the outlook.
And on Wall Street Monday the three main indexes were hard hit as investors fled.
The Dow sank 1.35 per cent and the S&P 500 shed 1.65 per cent – just weeks after the two had touched record highs. The Nasdaq lost 1.46 per cent.
But Tuesday saw investors tentatively return to buying in Asia, picking up cheaper stocks.
The dollar also picked up slightly after tumbling below 107 yen in New York on Monday.
The greenback bought 107.24 yen Tuesday, up from 106.83 yen in New York Monday afternoon. However, that was not enough to support the Nikkei as it is still sharply down from 107.79 yen in Tokyo on Friday, before a three-day weekend there.
“Most of the Nikkei’s gains over the last several weeks have come on the back of the dollar’s rapid rise without much fundamental buying support behind it, so a dramatic reversal such as this is possible, if not likely, when the dollar falls back to earth,” Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The euro bought $1.2702 and 136.24 yen against $1.2753 and 136.25 yen.
Analysts said Hong Kong shares got some support from hopes of an end to a more than two-week stand-off between the government and pro-democracy protesters that has shut down parts of the city.
Police moved in for a second day Tuesday to clear barricades, opening up one of the main thoroughfares for the first time this month. However, demonstrators have refused to lift their blockade until the city’s Chief Executive CY Leung steps down and they are granted full universal suffrage by China.
World oil prices extended their losses after the OPEC cartel signalled that producers have no intention of cutting output, even with a supply glut.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was down 34 cents at a two-year-low $85.40 in afternoon trade and Brent crude retreated 31 cents to $88.58, its lowest since mid-2010. Both contracts are down by about a fifth from their 2014 highs touched in June.
Gold was at $1,233.25 an ounce against $1,227.19 late Monday.
In other markets:
– Mumbai retreated marginally by 0.13 per cent or 34.74 points to end at 26,349.33 points.
Tata Motors fell 1.64 per cent to 488.20 rupees, while Bharat Heavy Electricals gained 3.56 per cent to 225.75 rupees.
– Bangkok added 0.29 per cent, or 4.43 points, to 1,546.78.
Supermarket operator Big C Supercenter lost 3.93 per cent to 220.00 baht, while Airports of Thailand rose 2.27 per cent to 225.00 baht.
– Jakarta ended up 0.19 per cent, or 9.53 points, at 4,922.58.
Telecoms firm Indosat gained 1.05 per cent to 3,860 rupiah, while retailer Ramayana Lestari Sentosa fell 5.45 per cent to 780 rupiah
– Kuala Lumpur ended flat at 1,796.38, falling just 0.82 points or 0.05 per cent.