Asian Markets Ease on US Earnings, But Tokyo Jumps 3%
Asian stocks outside of Japan slipped Tuesday after a landslide of lower-than-expected U.S. corporate results sparked fears of a pullback in consumer demand, boding ill for the region's exporters. But Tokyo rallied 3 percent higher.
The U.S. dollar was steady after falling overnight as dealers shrugged off higher-than-expected results from the top two banks Citigroup and Bank of America and continued to be skeptical about the stability of the financial sector.
A rise in oil toward $131 a barrel lent support to resource firms such as Australia's Woodside Petroleum and Japan's Inpex Holdings. Both finished sharply higher.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Average jumped 3 percent as Itochu Corp and other trading houses climbed on gains in U.S. crude oil futures Monday and financials rose after major U.S. bank earnings. Shin-Etsu Chemical gained sharply after the world's biggest maker of silicon wafers posted a 13 percent rise in quarterly profit. The market accelerated its gains after trading in Japanese government bond futures was resumed in the late afternoon following a system glitch on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which caused a halt in trade of JGB futures, TOPIX index futures and other derivatives.
Seoul shares finished just a touch lower on higher oil and worries about corporate earnings, but gains by energy issues and Daewoo Shipbuilding on its speedier privatization outlook helped the index cut earlier losses.
Australian shares eased just 0.1 percent, with financials such as National Australia Bank weighed down by nagging credit concerns, offsetting gains in resource firms on firmer commodity prices.
Hong Kong shares closed flat after flitting in and out of positive territory, as investors locked in gains on a four-session, 6.4 percent rally in the benchmark index after crude oil prices rose. Shares in Chinese PC maker Lenovo slid after U.S. computer giant IBM sold a 1.3 percent stake in the company for around $77.3 million and JP Morgan downgraded the stock on slowing Chinese demand. CNOOC led gainers after fears that a tropical storm could hit U.S. offshore oil installations sent crude over $130 per barrel Monday.
Singapore's Straits Times Index was 1 percent lower. But shares of Jade Technologies Holdings surged as much as 11.8 percent after the governor of West Sumatra denied a report that the firm did not have all the permits for mining coal in Indonesia.
China's Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.5 percent lower but most Chinese shares were higher, retaining their strength after two days of sharp gains. Profit-taking in heavily weighted blue chips such as China Life Insurance and Sinopec pulled down the main index.