Asian shares traded mixed on Tuesday, as investors weighed a raft of corporate report cards in the region and kept an eye on Australia's federal budget and Greece's debt crisis.
Overnight, U.S. stocks closed lower on the back of a confluence of factors which include worries over slowing growth in China as well as gains in bond yields.
Major government debt markets resumed their selloff on Monday, resulting in higher bond yields. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.27 percent. The 30-year bond yield topped 3.03 percent. The German 10-year bund yield rose to 0.62 percent. Experts say the downward move in bonds is causing "disarray in equity markets." As such, the blue-chip Dow and S&P 500 ended down 0.5 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.2 percent.
Shanghai Comp up 1.6%
China's Shanghai Composite index finished at a one-week high amid a three-day winning streak, thanks to the central bank's interest rate cut on Sunday.
While Industrial and Commercial Bank of China failed to capitalize on Monday's rally and closed down 0.2 percent, other financial plays finished in the black with modest gains. In the property space, heavyweight developers like Poly Real Estate and China Vanke tumbled more than 1 percent each.
Automakers were mixed following data that showed China's auto sales fell 0.5 percent on-year in April. While SAIC Motor and Guangzhou Auto retreated 0.7 and 1.4 percent, respectively, Dongfeng Auto charged up by the daily maximum allowable of 10 percent. Shenzhen-listed FAW Group bounced up nearly 2 percent, but Changan Automobile Group declined 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong markets took a breather and ended down 1.1 percent.
ASX gains 0.9%
Australia's S&P ASX 200 index finished in the black for the first time in a week, ahead of the nation's annual federal budget due later in the day, which markets expect to show a deficit of over 40 billion Australian dollars ($31.5 billion).
Banks were in the spotlight as National Australia Bank resumed trading after announcing a mammoth $5.5 billion rights issue last Thursday. Shares of the lender closed down 0.5 percent as it played catchup in a technical correction, analysts say. Marking a comeback following last week's rout due to downbeat earnings, Australia and New Zealand Banking, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia elevated between 0.9 and 1.5 percent.
The resources space turned higher in the afternoon session, with market bellwether BHP BIlliton outperforming the sector with a rise of 2.2 percent. "China has really given some of these materials plays some renewed vigor. However, these moves could well be a flash in the pan and might not necessarily go the distance," Stan Shamu, IG's market strategist, wrote in a note.
Qantas was among the top gainers for Tuesday, raking in its highest gain since September 2008 by soaring 7.2 percent, after CEO Alan Joyce said lower fuel bill to boost the airline's transformation plan.
Japan's Nikkei 225 recovered from a seven-day intra-day low to finish slightly higher than the previous day's close.
Mobile carrier Softbank declined 0.7 percent despite beating market expectations with operating profit of 982.7 billion yen ($8.2 billion) in the year through March. The telecoms conglomerate was in focus after CEO Masayoshi Son appointed investments head Nikesh Arora as president and named him as a potential successor.
Carmakers turned higher in the afternoon session, with Suzuki Motor rallying 7.8 percent, unaffected by a 4.4 percent decline in operating profit for the year ended March late Monday. Bigger rivals Toyota Motor and Nissan notched up 0.6 and 0.2 percent, respectively, while Honda declined 0.9 percent.
After plummeting nearly 30 percent in the previous session following the announcement of a capital-reduction report, troubled electronics giant Sharp rebounded 11 percent on Tuesday, possibly on bargain-hunting. However, industrial conglomerate Toshiba extended losses, down 0.6 percent after diving 1.6 percent in the previous session.
South Korea's key Kospi index pared early losses to end the day virtually unchanged.
Blue-chips were mixed; utility stock Kepco clawed back losses to close up 0.6 percent, after beating market expectations with a 118 percent jump in first-quarter net profit on the back of reduced fuel costs. Other blue chips like Samsung Electronics and Posco reversed a higher open to ease 0.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively.
Outperforming the bourse was casino operator Grand Korea Leisure (GKL), which leaped 7.1 percent after beating expectations on both its top and bottom line.
Indian shares down
Indian stocks sold down, with the benchmark Sensex and Nifty indexes sagging more than 2 percent each, on the back of a slew of widely-expected weak economic data.
Industrial production slowed to 2.1 percent in March, below forecasts for a 2.8 percent rise and much lower than February's 5.0 percent. Consumer inflation also cooled to a four-month low April, with an annual rise of 4.87 percent year-on-year, slightly missing Reuters forecast of 4.9 percent and below March's 5.17 percent increase.