Asian Markets Lower Amid Doubts Over U.S.-China Trade Truce

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(RTTNews) – Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Tuesday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street as initial euphoria over the temporary truce between the U.S. and China over their trade disputes faded amid doubts over whether the world’s two largest economies will be able to resolve their differences in the ninety-day period. Investors are also locking in profits after recent strong gains.

The Australian market is declining despite the overnight gains on Wall Street amid doubts over whether the U.S. and China could resolve their trade disputes in ninety days.

Investors are also cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision due later in the day. The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at a record low of 1.50 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 14.50 points or 0.25 percent to 5,756.70, after falling to a low of 5,733.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 14.20 points or 0.24 percent to 5,842.10. Australian stocks rose on Monday amid improved risk appetite.

Oil stocks are weak despite a 4 percent surge in crude oil prices overnight. Santos and Oil Search are declining almost 1 percent each, while Woodside Petroleum is down 0.3 percent.

In the banking sector, ANZ Banking, Westpac and National Australia Bank are down in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent, while Commonwealth Bank is edging up 0.1 percent ahead of the RBA decision.

Meanwhile, the major miners are mostly higher. BHP is advancing almost 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is adding 0.2 percent, while Rio Tinto is down 0.1 percent.

Gold miners are also advancing after gold prices rose more than 1 percent overnight. Evolution Mining is rising 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.7 percent.

Metcash’s shares are losing more than 8 percent, extending sharp losses from the previous session after the company said it sees more tough times ahead in the supermarket sector.

ResMed will acquire U.S.-based asthma and pulmonary specialist Propeller Health for $225 million, marking its second major digital acquisition in a month. The sleep device manufacturer’s shares are advancing more than 1 percent.

In economic news, Australia will also see third-quarter figures for current account today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is lower against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7358, down from $0.7365 on Monday.

The Japanese market is losing despite the positive cues from Wall Street, with investors taking profits after seven straight days of gains. Investors are also cautious amid doubts over whether the U.S. and China will be able to settle their trade disputes before the 90-day deadline.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 111.93 points or 0.50 percent to 22,462.83. Japanese shares hit a six-week high on Monday.

The Nikkei business daily reported that Sharp Corp. has laid off more than 3,000 foreign workers in Japan as the company shifts production of iPhone sensors to a Chinese plant owned by Sharp’s parent company Foxconn. Shares of Sharp are losing more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Sony is down 0.2 percent, Panasonic is declining 0.3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 0.7 percent, while Canon is advancing more than 1 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is adding 0.2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is declining 0.2 percent.

Among the major automakers, Toyota is adding 0.4 percent, while Honda is lower by 0.2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 2 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is advancing more than 1 percent while Japan Petroleum is down 0.4 percent despite a 4 percent surge in crude oil prices.

Among the other major gainers, Konica Minolta is rising more than 2 percent, while Kikkoman and Taiyo Yuden are advancing more than 1 percent each.

On the flip side, Kawasaki Kishen Kaisha is losing more than 7 percent, Showa Denko is declining more than 6 percent and Tokai Carbon is lower by more than 5 percent.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan said that the monetary base in Japan was up 6.1 percent on year in November, coming in at 501.330 trillion yen. That follows two straight months of 5.9 percent gains.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 113 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Shanghai, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan are also lower, while Indonesia is modestly higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday reflecting a positive reaction to the highly anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend. At the meeting, Trump and Xi agreed to a 90-day truce in the escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies as they work to reach a long-term trade deal.

The Dow surged up 287.97 points or 1.1 percent to 25,826.43, the Nasdaq soared 110.98 points or 1.5 percent to 7,441.51 and the S&P 500 shot up 30.20 points or 1.1 percent to 2,790.37.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Monday. While the German DAX Index shot up by 1.9 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 1.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices surged on Monday as trade tensions eased and investors pinned hopes that crude exporters would agree to cut output at OPEC’s policy meeting on December 6. WTI crude for January delivery jumped $2.02 or 4 percent to $52.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.