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Asian shares slip as the dollar firms; Nikkei falls more than 1%

Asian shares slip as the dollar firms; Nikkei falls more than 1%

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By CNBCTV18.COMFeb 20, 2018 7:59 AM IST (Published)

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.26 percent as financials, manufacturing and energy-related names traded in negative territory, while technology stocks traded mixed.

Asian shares traded lower on Tuesday after a relatively quiet overnight session, due to U.S. markets being closed for a holiday on Monday.

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Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.26 percent as financials, manufacturing and energy-related names traded in negative territory, while technology stocks traded mixed.
Automakers were mostly lower, with Toyota down 1.22 percent. Mitsubishi Motors gave up early gains to slip 0.36 percent. The moves followed a Nikkei report that Mitsubishi Corporation was looking into raising its stake in Mitsubishi Motors to approximately 20 percent through a tender offer. Mitsubishi Corporation, which traded down 1.75 percent, said it had yet to reach a decision, according to Reuters.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.89 percent, with losses seen in heavyweight technology names: Samsung Electronics fell 2.23 percent and SK Hynix declined 1.44 percent.
The manufacturing sector was mixed in the morning. Shares of steelmakers Posco and Hyundai Steel pared early gains of more than 1 percent to trade lower by 0.28 percent and 0.57 percent, respectively. The moves came after South Korea's trade ministry on Monday indicated it would not sit on its hands if the U.S. implemented tariffs on steel imports. Yonhap News Agency said South Korea would weigh filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization if the U.S. decided to impose those tariffs.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was off by 0.35 percent in morning trade as the 1.22 percent gain in the information technology sector was offset by declines seen in other sectors. The heavily weighted financials sub-index slipped 0.55 percent, and the materials sub-index was lower by 0.84 percent.
Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia released on Tuesday indicated policymakers were sanguine about the uptick in the global economy. RBA members also noted that wage growth "was yet to pick up" despite the robust job market and highlighted that household debt remained "elevated."
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.85 percent as markets resumed trade after a long Lunar New Year weekend. Property developers, telcos and energy-related stocks slid in early trade, while technology stocks were mixed. Heavyweight Tencent shed 0.4 percent early on.
Shares of HSBC slipped 0.24 percent ahead of its release of full-year earnings due later in the day, although those losses were not as steep as declines seen among its peers. China Construction Bank fell 2.24 percent, insurer AIA lost 1.82 percent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China was down 2.43 percent.
Markets in China, Taiwan and Vietnam remained closed on Tuesday for the Lunar New Year holiday.
On the earnings front, interim results from mining major BHP are due after the market close in Australia.
European stock indexes closed in negative territory on Monday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 finishing the day 0.66 percent lower. Other indexes in the region also closed with moderate losses.
Volumes were weaker than usual in the last session due to U.S. markets being closed on Monday for Presidents Day.
After a quiet overnight session, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of rivals, firmed to trade at 89.349 at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN. That was below a high of 89.442 hit in the last session, but firmly above last week's low of 88.253.
Against the yen, the greenback traded at 106.73, off a low of 106.08 touched on Monday.
The Australian dollar slipped to trade at $0.7894. The currency had traded at levels around the $0.79 handle before the release of minutes from the country's central bank.
"In the near term, the Australian dollar remains trapped. Poor U.S. dollar sentiment continues to provide support, but a low yield structure and unchanged domestic story are providing few catalysts for renewed upside," David Plank, head of Australian economics at ANZ, said in a morning note.
On the commodities front, oil prices traded mixed on Tuesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 1.07 percent to trade at $62.34 per barrel while Brent crude futures shed 0.4 percent to trade at $65.41.
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