Asia markets mixed following US midterm elections

  • Asia markets were relatively muted on Wednesday afternoon as results filtered in from the much-anticipated midterm elections in the U.S.
  • NBC News projected late on Tuesday that Democrats had taken a majority in the House while Republicans had retained control of the Senate.
  • The midterm elections are poised to create significant changes for how President Donald Trump can accomplish his domestic goals. But experts said the results may not mean much for the country's trade policies.

Reactions in Asian stock markets were relatively muted on Wednesday afternoon as results filtered in from the much-anticipated midterm elections in the U.S. Major indexes

NBC News projected late on Tuesday showed that Democrats had taken a majority in the House and Republicans had retained control of the Senate. Both chambers make up Congress — the country's principal decision-making body — and approval from each is required to pass bills into law.

The midterm elections are poised to create significant changes for how President Donald Trump can accomplish his domestic goals. But experts said the results may not mean much for the country's trade policies — the U.S. and China are currently locked in a trade fight that saw both countries apply import tariffs on some of each other's goods.

"The much hyped US midterms made for choppy trading conditions," Sue Trinh, head of Asia emerging markets foreign exchange strategy at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in an afternoon note. "In the end, it was the outcome that most experts, polls and betting odds predicted."

Trinh added that the immediate reaction was a weaker dollar across the board, along with lower yields and equity futures giving up gains as a "Democrat-controlled House is seen to lower the odds of more fiscal stimulus."

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, traded at 96.155 Wednesday afternoon during Asian hours, withdrawing from an earlier session high of 96.464. The index slipped from levels above 96.800 it reached last week.

In equity markets, major indexes were mixed.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 61.95 points, or 0.28 percent, to 22,085.8 while the Topix index declined 6.92 points, or 0.42 percent, to 1,652.43. South Korea's Kospi fell 10.93 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,078.69 while Australia's ASX 200 rose 21.7 points, or 0.37 percent, to 5,896.9.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.12 percent in late-afternoon trade. The Shanghai composite was down 18.01 points, or 0.68 percent, at 2,641.34 while the Shenzhen composite was down 5.81 points, or 0.43 percent, at 1,340.37.

Wall Street closed higher overnight, with all three major indices advancing.

In the currency market, the Japanese yen traded at 113.21 to the dollar while the Australian dollar fetched $0.7242.

Oil prices fell during Asian hours after declining overnight as the U.S. granted top buyers of Iranian oil sanction waivers.

U.S. crude was down 0.63 percent at $61.82 a barrel while global benchmark Brent declined 0.49 percent to $71.78.

— Reuters and CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this report.