Asia Markets

Japan's Nikkei touches 2019 highs following Wall Street record performance

Key Points
  • Shares in Japan led the region following a return from a Monday holiday.
  • A private survey of China's services sector showed activity slowing to a eight month low in October. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for October came in at 51.1 — its lowest reading since February.
  • The moves in Asia followed a strong performance overnight on Wall Street, where the three major indexes all touched record highs.

Stocks in Asia rose on Tuesday following record closes overnight on Wall Street.

Shares in Japan led the region as they touched 2019 highs after returning from a Monday holiday. The Nikkei 225 closed 1.76% higher at 23,251.99 as shares of index heavyweight Softbank Group soared 2.43%. The Topix index also jumped 1.66% to end its trading day at 1,694.16.

Fujifilm's stock skyrocketed 6.74% on the day. The firm announced Tuesday it would acquire Xerox's stake in the Fuji Xerox joint venture for $2.3 billion.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.54% to about 2,991.56 and Shenzhen composite gaining 0.541% to around 1,655.60. The Shenzhen component added 0.71% to 9,938.61. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.18% higher, as of its final hour of trading.

A private survey of China's services sector showed activity slowing to a eight month low in October. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for October came in at 51.1 — its lowest reading since February. The 50-point level separates expansion from contraction in PMI readings.

In South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.58% higher at 2,142.64.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.15% to end its trading day at 6,697.10. The moves came after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept interest rates unchanged on Tuesday.

"The Board will continue to monitor developments, including in the labour market, and is prepared to ease monetary policy further if needed to support sustainable growth in the economy, full employment and the achievement of the inflation target over time," RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement announcing the interest rate decision.

Following the announcement, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6908, after slipping from the $0.692 handle on Monday.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.44% higher.

All three major U.S. indexes touched record highs overnight on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 114.75 points to close at 27,462.11 — its first all-time high since mid-July. The S&P 500 also added 0.4% to finish at a fresh all-time high of 3,078.27. The Nasdaq advanced 0.6% to close at 8,433.20, also reaching record levels.

On the trade front, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for "consultation and cooperation" to resolve international disputes. Xi's remarks, made at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo, did not specifically mention the U.S., which Beijing has been locked in a trade fight with for more than a year.

That came following recent positive developments regarding the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. China said Friday it reached a consensus with the U.S. in principle following talks last week. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump said both sides had come to a "very substantial phase one" trade agreement that is expected to be signed later in November.

"The market does seem far too focused on a China-U.S. trade deal," Steve Goldman, managing director at Kapstream Capital, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Tuesday. "In the short run we'll have some sort of phase one (deal) which I won't view as very meaningful."

Still, Goldman added that such a move is likely to "leave a fairly positive tone to markets, hopefully through year-end."

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.547 after rising from levels around 97.2 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market uncertainty and turmoil, traded at 108.78 per dollar after weakening from levels below 108.5 in the previous session.

Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures fractionally lower at $62.09 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were 0.23% lower at $56.41 per barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.