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Asian markets close mostly lower despite Wall Street gains, after deadly Manchester Arena blast

  • Asian markets traded sideways on Tuesday
  • Nineteen reported dead at Manchester stadium in the U.K. after an explosion
  • British pound mostly stable but safe-haven yen strengthens
  • Oil prices mostly steady after hitting one-month highs in last session

Asian markets closed mostly lower after trading sideways for most of Tuesday, despite major Wall Street indexes closing in the green, as news of a deadly bombing at a concert venue in Manchester weighed sentiment.

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Twenty-two people were reported dead following a blast at the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing. The U.K. police are treating the blast as a terrorism incident.

The safe-haven yen climbed after news of the bombing. The dollar was fetching as little as 110.84 yen, down from around 111.34 yen earlier. At 2:55 p.m. HK/SIN, the dollar was fetching 111.02 yen.

The British pound also slipped after the news, fetching as little as $1.2983, off a high of $1.3005 earlier. The pound last traded at $1.2970.

Against the yen, the pound slipped to trade at 143.96 yen.

"Pound/yen fell to a two-session low following reports of the blast, although volatility surrounding the reaction does not yet suggest the downside will be of great magnitude. This may change if the story evolves, but at the time of writing, pound/yen is trading well within its typical range, compared with its three-month average," ThinkMarkets Senior Market Analyst Matt Simpson told CNBC.

FTSE futures, which traded at 7,478.5 before the blast, was mostly stable, trading at 7,482.5 at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

"There has been little response to this awful event by the FTSE futures markets. This reflects the market view that these terrorist events are now an ongoing risk. Each individual terrorist event is unlikely to lead to any significant disruption to commerce or financial markets," CMC Markets Chief Market Analyst Ric Spooner told CNBC in an email.

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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The Nikkei 225 closed 0.33 percent, or 65 points, lower at 19,613.28 on Tuesday, while the ASX 200 shed 0.19 percent, or 11.005 points, to finish the session at 5,760.2.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index closed in the green, ending higher by 0.33 percent, or 7.71 points, at 2,311.74.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index reversed earlier gains to trade lower by 0.22 percent by 3:00 p.m. Mainland China markets closed the session lower, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.45 percent, or 13.9514 points, at 3,061.7242, and the Shenzhen Composite tumbling 2.12 percent, or 38.7526 points, to close at 1.789.4676.

HNA Group is negotiating a stake in Hong Kong-listed Value Partners Group, an asset management company, according to reports. Shares of Value Partners were down 4.84 percent.

Cathay Pacific denied a report from the South China Morning Post that the airline would cut 200 more jobs than the original 600 it said it would cut on Monday.

"The number of redundancies resulting from the transformation programme is around 600, as we announced to our people and the public yesterday. Rumors of other figures are incorrect," a spokesperson from Cathay Pacific told CNBC in an email.

Cathay shares were softer, trading down by 1.21 percent at 2:50 p.m. HK/SIN.

In Singapore, trade of Noble Group was halted after shares of the company fell almost 32 percent. Shares of the company sank after S&P Global Ratings downgraded the commodity trader's credit rating to CCC-plus. Reuters also reported, citing sources, that Sinochem had decided to stop pursuing a stake in the company due to Noble's shaky outlook.

In other currency news, the dollar gained against a basket of currencies. The dollar index last traded at 97.027, off the six-month low it reached in the last session.

Meanwhile, the common currency hit a six-month high in the previous session following comments from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about euro weakness.

She said that her country's huge trade surplus was due to a "too weak" euro, Reuters reported.

The euro traded at $1.229 at 2:50 p.m. HK/SIN.

Oil prices declined after rising to a one-month high in the last session on hopes that OPEC-led output cuts could be further deepened. Benchmark Brent crude fell 0.85 percent to trade at $53.41 a barrel and U.S. crude declined 0.84 percent to trade at $50.70.

In economic news, Singapore CPI data for the month of April increased by 0.4 percent on year, compared with the 0.7 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. The lower-than-expected inflation figures were attributed in part to declining rents.

Stateside, equities gained across the board in the last session as tech and defense stocks made substantial gains.