Asia Markets

Asian equity markets mostly in the green; China stocks rebound

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Asian equity markets closed mixed on Tuesday afternoon, following a lower finish from Wall Street overnight on the back of fluctuating oil prices.

Major U.S. indices finished overnight in the red. The closed 31 points, or 0.17 percent, lower at 17,793. The S&P 500 was down 2.6 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,086.6, while the finished 2.4 points, or 0.05 percent, lower at 5,102.5.

Chinese market sprints ahead to close in the green

The Chinese market sprinted ahead in the final half-hour of trade to close in the positive territory on Tuesday, despite investor caution over the resumption of IPOs.

The main index finished 5.5 points, or 0.15 percent, above at 3,616. The smaller Shenzhen Composite maintained its positive run throughout the day to close 31 points, or 1.4 percent, higher; the tech-heavy Chinext Composite was up 68 points, or 2.13 percent, while the blue chip CSI 300 Index saw a marginal 0.56 point, or 0.01 percent, gain.

Chinese resources producers felt the effects of low steel, copper, and iron ore prices. Baoshan Steel, Aluminium Corporation of China, and Yunnan Copper all saw losses between 0.5 and 1.14 percent. On a slightly positive note, three-month Copper and Aluminium prices saw positive gains between 1 and 1.6 percent during Asian trade.

Chinese energy plays closed mixed, after spending most of the trading session in the red. Shares of Sinopec were up marginally while Petrochina, and China Oilfield Services saw some decline as oil prices continue to be a concern for investors. In Asian trade, oil was up around 1 percent on the back of the news that Saudi Arabia will work with OPEC countries and other oil producers and exporters to stabilize global prices.

U.S. crude futures were up 40 cents, or 0.96 percent, trading at $42.18 a barrel. The internationally traded Brent crude was trading at $45.21 a barrel, 38 cents or 0.85 higher than the previous session.

Away from the mainland, the in Hong Kong closed down 0.35 percent lower.

Shares of Guotai Junan climbed back into positive territory after a 15 percent intraday decline in its stock on Monday on the announcement that its chairman and chief executive office, Yim Fung, who is also the fourth biggest shareholder in the company, was missing.

Reports said prior to his disappearance, he was invited to take part in an investigation against the former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Guotai Junan said Yim had not been contactable since last Wednesday. In his absence, deputy CEO Wong Tung Ching will be acting as temporary chairman.

Elsewhere, shares of infrastructure company Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings were halted ahead of a shareholder vote on the proposed $13 billion merger of the two companies. Both CKI and Power Assets are affiliated with business tycoon Li Ka-shing.

A worker walks among coils of galvanized steel at a steel factory.
Why China steel prices hit record lows

Nikkei cuts back losses, finishes strongly near 20,000

The benchmark finished at a three-month high, cutting back early losses to close 45 points, or 0.23 percent, higher at 19,925.

The biggest gainer on the index on Tuesday was electronics manufacturer Sharp, its share closing 13.64 percent higher. Earlier in the day, Japanese state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corporation, stated it might invest in the company if banks agreed to write off an unspecified amount of Sharp's debts, according to reports.

Blue chip stocks closed mixed, weighed by trends in Wall Street overnight. Shares of Toyota and Sony were up between 0.67 and 0.7 percent while the likes of Canon, Mitsubishi Electric, and Toshiba saw declines.

Other export-oriented stocks such as Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi Motor finished in the green.

The yen was fetching 122.75 per dollar at market close.

Kospi continues its 5-session winning run

Seoul's Kospi ended Tuesday's session 12.6 points, or 0.63 percent, higher at 2,016.

Blue chip stocks had a mixed trading day. Consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics finished 1.33 percent higher while LG trimmed its afternoon losses to close 1.08 percent higher. Car manufacturer Hyundai Motor saw a 1.27 percent decline; steel manufacturer Posco closed 0.88 percent lower on the back of low commodity prices.

Elsewhere, shares of SK Holdings, the holding company of one of South Korea's largest conglomerates, closed 3 percent higher after the company agreed to buy a 49.1 percent stake in OCI Materials, which supplies materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. It is owned by the OCI Group. Reports estimated the deal to be worth 481.6 billion won ($415.86 million).

ASX extends losses in afternoon trade to close in the red

The ASX 200 ended its winning run on Tuesday, closing 44 points, or 0.83 percent, down on Monday's session to end at 5,232.

Resources producers felt the pinch of low commodity prices; shares of Fortescue was 3.21 percent lower, Atlas Iron was down 4.17 percent, while BC Iron and Mount Gibson shed their morning gains to close flat.

IG's market strategist Evan Lucas said in a note, "Iron ore continues to inch towards that June decade low of US$44.59 a tonne trading at US$44.74 a tonne in Qingdao yesterday." He added slowing demand in China was not be a good sign for Australian terms of trade or material firms.

Australian banks also had an uninspiring trading day as investors remained cautious over the results from Wall Street. Shares of Australia's four biggest banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NAB, Westpac and ANZ, were down between 0.29 and 1.32 percent.

Oil producers had mixed fortunes, with Oil Search and Woodside seeing losses while Santos shares were up by 0.75 percent.

Shares of Transurban Group, which announced its decision to buy the Brisbane AirportLinkM7 toll road, owned by BrisConnections, for A$1.87 billion ($1.34 billion), were placed on a trading halt as the company raised capital to fund their acquisition.

Elsewhere, healthcare operator Healthscope saw its shares sink by 0.19 cents, or 6.71 percent, after private equity firms Carlyle Group and TPG Capital Management announced they were selling their remaining stake, about 17.8 percent, in the company for about $612 million, according to reports.