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Asia stocks edge up as investors await central bank meetings

Key Points
  • Asia Pacific stocks edged up on Tuesday.
  • Shares on China's new Nasdaq-style tech board, the "STAR Market," mostly declined after seeing strong gains on their debut trading day on Monday.

Stocks in Asia Pacific edged up on Tuesday, as investors await closely-watched central bank meetings in the coming days.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shenzhen composite 0.877% higher to 1,545.87 and the Shenzhen component rising 0.58% to 9,175.83, while the Shanghai composite was 0.45% higher at 2,899.94.

Shares on China's new Nasdaq-style tech board, the "STAR Market, " mostly declined on Tuesday after seeing massive gains on their debut trading day on Monday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.3%, as of its final hour of trading.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan added 0.95% to close at 21,620.88, with shares of semiconductor equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron jumping about 3%. The Topix index also rose 0.8% to finish its trading day at 1,568.82.

In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.39% to close at 2,101.45 , as shares of Hyundai Motor slipped 0.75% after the company posted earnings that missed expectations, despite seeing its biggest quarterly profit jump in seven years. Steelmaker Posco saw its stock advance 1.27%. The company announced Tuesday that its second-quarter operating profit fell 15%, in line with market expectations.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.5% higher at 6,724.60.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.12% higher.

"We anticipate wait and watch sentiment taking hold of the markets ahead of the (European Central Bank) meeting this week and the (Federal Reserve) meeting next week, " economists at ING wrote in a note.

"What we'll really be looking for when the Fed makes its announcement is how the bond market reacts," Kingsley Jones, founder and chief investment officer at Jevons Global, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Tuesday.

If "yields press down further at the long-end" following the Fed's announcement next week, Jones said, it could "signal that maybe the bond market feels the Fed isn't doing enough." The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was last at 2.0551%.

Meanwhile, the U.K. is set to find out who its next prime minister will be as it moves closer to the Brexit departure deadline of October 31.

Better-than-expected earnings season

Amid the ongoing earnings season, more than a quarter of the S&P 500 companies has reported earnings this week. So far, more than 15% of the S&P 500 has posted quarterly results. Of those companies, 78.5% have topped analyst expectations for earnings while 67% have reported better-than-expected quarterly revenues, according to FactSet data.

On the trade front, U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to requests for "timely licensing decisions " from the Department of Commerce regarding Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, following a meeting with tech and telecommunications executives on Monday. That comes as Huawei, which relies on American suppliers for components and software in some of its products, remains on a Washington trade blacklist.

Oil and currencies

Tensions remain high in the Middle East following Iran's seizure of a British tanker last week, with oil prices seeing gains on Monday.

In the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Tuesday, oil prices climbed higher. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract was 0.17% higher at $63.37 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures were 0.2% higher at $56.33 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.494 after seeing lows below 97.2 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.12 against the dollar after seeing an earlier high of 107.81, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7020 after slipping from highs above $0.705 yesterday.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.