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Asia's energy stocks lose ground on weak oil price, China woes

Visitors look at an electric stock board at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, operated by Japan Exchange Group, in Tokyo, Japan.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Visitors look at an electric stock board at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, operated by Japan Exchange Group, in Tokyo, Japan.

Asian equity markets traded mixed on Tuesday, with energy shares taking a hit as stubborn signs of weakness in the Chinese economy rekindled declines in oil prices.

U.S. crude fell nearly 3 percent at $45.89 a barrel, while the front-month in Brent - the global crude benchmark - slid 3.7 percent at $48.80 on Monday. Global oil markets nudged up in early Asian trade, but gains were capped by worries about oversupply and the health of the global economy.

A raft of Chinese data released in the previous trading session showed the world's second-biggest economy slowing but still seeming to avoid the danger of a hard landing.

China's economy expanded 6.9 percent on-year in the third quarter, official data showed on Monday, compared with the prediction of 6.8 percent by a Reuters poll.

September retail sales also beat expectations, with annual growth of 10.9 percent last month, slightly above Reuters' prediction of 10.8 percent.

However, industrial production rose 5.7 percent on-year in September, missing expectations for a rise of 6.0 percent. Fixed-asset investment (FAI) - seen as a crucial driver of China's economy - came in at 10.3 percent in the first nine months of 2015, also below estimates for 10.8 percent growth.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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China indices mostly rebound

China's Shanghai Composite index swung higher in the afternoon trading session, closing up 1.1 percent.

Small-caps outperformed on Tuesday, with the Shenzhen Composite up 1.9 percent and the start-up ChiNext board surging 2.9 percent.

Shanghai-listed shares of PetroChina and Sinopec rebounded late Tuesday, up 0.8 and 0.2 percent respectively. Earlier in the session, Barclays raised its calls on the stocks to 'overweight' from 'equal weight'.

Shares of these two oil majors shaved off more than 2 percent each in Hong Kong, outpacing the key Hang Seng index which eased 0.6 percent.

Read MoreChina heads for record crude buying year

Nikkei adds 0.4%

Japan's Nikkei 225 recouped some of Monday's losses, helped by buying in shares of financials and mobile phone service providers.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rallied nearly 2 percent each.

In the telecom sector, KDDI surged nearly 5 percent after Deutsche Securities upgraded its rating for the stock to 'buy' from 'hold.' Buy orders also flowed into shares of SoftBank and NTT DoCoMo, which rose 1.5 and 5.2 percent respectively.

Among losers, airbag maker Takata retreated 3.4 percent after U.S. regulators signaled that their investigation into the company's air bag inflators will expand beyond 11 automakers.

The energy sector pared losses in late-day trade; JX Holdings and Fuji Oil closed down 0.9 and 0.3 percent respectively, while Inpex rebounded 0.3 percent.

Read MoreBiggest winner from Japan Post IPO: Abenomics

ASX sags 0.7%

Australia's S&P ASX 200 index closed lower amid a broad-based selldown.

Banking shares plummeted on the back of news that Australia's government has accepted most recommendations of an inquiry calling for a more comprehensive review of the country's financial industry. The review last year called on major banks down under to raise additional capital to ensure they become among the world's safest lenders.

Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Banking lost 1.6 percent each, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank dropped 0.9 and 0.6 percent respectively.

The key resources sector also buckled under China-related worries. Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search plunged between 3.1 and 5.1 percent, hurt by weaker energy prices overnight. Market bellwether BHP Billiton slid 2.9 percent, while Rio Tinto slumped 2.3 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining crashed down 5.1 percent, while Sandfire Resources tumbled 6.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) saw signs that economic activity was rebalancing toward sectors outside of the struggling mining industry, minutes of its previous policy meeting showed. The RBA kept interest rates unchanged at its October meeting.

"The market was expecting very little dovish lean and in fact, the RBA continued to sound upbeat about the economy commenting 'rate cuts supporting aggregate demand.' However, there was really nothing new in the minutes," Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific, wrote in an email note.

Kospi gains 0.5%

South Korea's Kospi index edged up late Tuesday, after being stuck in rangebound trade in the morning session.

Refiners and brokerage houses were among the worst-hit; SK Innovation and S-Oil slumped 2.7 and 3.3 percent respectively, while Hyundai Securities was the biggest laggard in its sector, down 4.1 percent.

Steelmaker Posco tanked 1.9 percent ahead of its third-quarter earnings announcement due after the market close. By contrast, other blue chips broadly recovered from Monday's lackluster performance, with Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor advancing 0.9 and 1.2 percent respectively.

Samsung Electronics plans to bring forward the unveiling of its next Galaxy S smartphone to January in an attempt to compete better with rival Apple, South Korea's Electronic Times reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

In other news, South Korea's producer price index fell 4.5 percent in September from a year ago, central bank data showed, chalking up declines for a 14th straight month after matching a revised 4.5 percent decrease seen in August.

Wall Street ended narrowly higher overnight, as a rebound in biotech counters offset weak quarterly earnings and a tumble in energy prices sparked by China's economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ended marginally above the flatline, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4 percent.