Asia Markets

Asia markets trade mixed following Wall Street's tepid session

Key Points
  • Asia markets were mixed in the afternoon session on Tuesday while the dollar index edged down from a session high of 91.076.
  • The session in Asia followed after the Dow and the Nasdaq stumbled amid a decline in tech shares.
  • One analyst said the overnight session was marked by "further strength" in the dollar, rises in bond yields and volatility in commodity prices.

Asia markets traded mixed on Tuesday.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 35.6 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,921.6, with most sectors notching gains. The heavily weighted financial sector gained 0.99 percent as major banking names in the country rose.

Shares of ANZ were up 0.67 percent, Commonwealth Bank was up 1.09 percent, Westpac was higher by 1.11 percent and the National Australia Bank added 1.11 percent.

Major miners in Australia finished mostly lower — Rio Tinto shares fell 2.62 percent, Fortescue was lower by 2.35 percent and BHP Billiton retraced morning losses to finish up 0.13 percent.

Japan's gained 190.08 points, or 0.86 percent, to 22,278.12 while the Topix index rose 18.96 points, or 1.08 percent, to 1,769.75.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi fell 9.97 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,464.14. Shares of chipmaker SK Hynix were down 2.73 percent despite the company meeting market expectations with a 77 percent jump first-quarter operating profit, according to Reuters.

That's because SK Hynix followed in the footsteps of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to warn of slower growth in smartphone chip sales. Still, the company said the slowdown could be somewhat offset by higher demand for server and other high-end chips, Reuters reported.

Samsung Electronics, which saw strong demand for its memory chips in recent quarters, slipped 2.77 percent.

In Hong Kong, the rose 407.16 points, or 1.35 percent, to 30,661.56 while Taiwan's Taiex fell 117.63 points, or 1.1 percent, to 10,579.5.

Chinese mainland shares closed higher; the composite was up 60.58 points, or 1.97 percent, at 3,128.60 and the Shenzhen composite gained 40.20 points, or 2.27 percent, to 1,804.40.

Analysts at Singapore's OCBC bank wrote in a morning note that market sentiment overnight was affected by "multiple factors including higher yields, mixed earnings, still solid U.S. growth data and eased sanctions on Russian aluminum producer Rusal."

Further strength in the U.S. dollar also marked the overnight session, according to David de Garis, director for economics and markets at the National Australia Bank.

"The dollar has been on a further tear, taking up in Europe where the trading mood ended last week," he wrote in a morning note.

The , which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, traded at 91.007 as of 4:10 p.m. HK/SIN, retreating slightly from an earlier high of 91.076. It was up from levels below 89.500 in the previous week.

The index had "been testing its highs for this year seen in the earlier part of January," de Garis said. "It's been a yield driven story, with rises in U.S. yields along the curve."

He added that the market was pricing toward three more rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve this year.

In currency pairs, the Japanese yen traded at 108.84 to the dollar, and the Australian dollar fetched $0.7603 as of 4:14 p.m. HK/SIN, declining from levels above $0.777 in the previous week.

Elsewhere, oil prices rose during the Asian session on Tuesday, with U.S. crude climbing 0.58 percent to $69.04 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent was up 0.35 percent at $74.97.

"Crude prices are now sitting at the highest levels in three years, reflecting ongoing concerns around geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which is the source of nearly half of the world's oil supply," Giulia Specchia from ANZ Research wrote in a morning note.

Higher energy prices were also supported by a decline in inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub for U.S. crude, according to Reuters.