HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed Tuesday, taking a lead from Wall Street ahead of the start of the corporate reporting season, while Hong Kong enjoyed a third straight rally as a protest that hit the city last week winds down.
The euro dipped, but was holding up after rebounding in New York from a two-year low against the dollar and the yen picked up on profit-taking after Bank of Japan’s latest policy meeting.
Tokyo fell 0.67 per cent, or 107.12 points, to 15,783.83 and Sydney slipped 0.16 per cent, or 8.7 points, to 5,284.2, while Seoul added 0.23 per cent, or 4.52 points, to close at 1,972.91.
In the afternoon Hong Kong added 0.47 per cent, a third straight advance as pro-democracy protests that shut parts of the city down last week began to wind down and people returned to work.
Shanghai was closed for a public holiday.
Wall Street stocks – which bolted up at the end of last week in response to a surge in US jobs creation – retreated Monday as firms prepare to report their earnings, with investors worried about the effects of the stronger dollar.
The Dow slipped 0.10 per cent, the S&P 500 eased 0.16 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 0.47 per cent.
The greenback has seen strong buying interest as a series of upbeat US economic data increase the likelihood the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sooner than initially expected.
But in Tokyo trade Tuesday it was at 108.53 yen against 108.75 yen in New York, and well down from 109.52 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday and last week’s six-year highs above 110 yen.
The dollar weakness came despite the Bank of Japan sounding a more downbeat view of the economy at the end of a two-day policy meeting, suggesting it could further loosen monetary policy at its next get-together at the end of October. Monetary easing tends to send a currency lower.
The euro, which hit a two-year low against the dollar in Asia Monday, held up after rallying in New York on bargain-buying.
It bought $1.2631 compared with $1.2655 in US trade, but was much stronger than the $1.2515 on Monday in Asia. The single currency was also at 137.16 yen from 137.64 yen.
In Hong Kong, pro-democracy demonstrations – which saw tens of thousands hit the streets last week – were thinning out Tuesday as workers returned to work.
“Asia (Tuesday) looks to be back to normal trading conditions, with mainland China back online (on Wednesday) after the week-long National Day celebrations,” said brokerage IG, according to Dow Jones Newswires.