Asia Markets

Asian stocks mixed in quiet trade after RBA meeting


Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday in holiday-thinned trade with markets in South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan shut.

A positive lead from Wall Street lifted sentiment in the region. U.S. stocks advanced on Monday after data from the Institute for Supply Management showed service sector activity grew at its fastest pace in eight months in April.

That helped offset concerns about Ukraine as fighting intensified in the eastern part of the country. Separatist rebels near Slaviansk shot down a Ukrainian helicopter and attacked Ukrainian troops on Monday. Kiev has since drafted police special forces to the southwestern city of Odessa to halt the spread of rebellion.

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ASX up 0.3%

Australia's benchmark index rose for a third straight session, little changed after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left interest rates steady.

But the Australian dollar jumped to a one-week high of $0.9316 following the announcement.

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"A couple of issues that stood out in the RBA's language were around the fairly elevated Australian dollar and the recent benign inflation reading. Some traders would have been hoping last week's disappointing CPI reading would push the RBA to suggest if the trend continues, then possibly we could see another cut. However, it is clear the central bank is happy to remain neutral," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG.

Moody's: RBA is watching labor market closely

Shares also showed little reaction to the economy's March trade surplus of A$731 million, which missed forecasts for a A$1.2 billion surplus.

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Department store David Jones inched up 0.2 percent after reporting a 4.1 percent rise in third-quarter sales from the previous quarter.

Lynas slumped 9 percent after saying it was looking to raise raise up to $40 million from investors.

Shanghai flat

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite pared gains in afternoon trade, dragged down by weakness in real estate developers amid fears of a correction in the property market. Poly Real Estate eased 1.3 percent and Gemdale lost over 2 percent.

Still, the benchmark index managed to post a second straight day of gains.

Railway shares rose after local media reported plans of government-financed rail projects. The optimism also comes as Premier Li Keqiang promotes high-speed railway technology during his visit to Africa. China Railway Construction jumped 0.8 percent and China South Locomotive & Rolling rallied 1.4 percent.

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Emerging markets higher

Indian shares added 0.3 percent, heading for a second consecutive session of gains on strong foreign investor buying. Elsewhere, both Indonesia's Jakarta Composite and Philippine shares were flat.