Asia Markets

Asia stocks mostly higher; Alibaba makes blockbuster debut in Hong Kong

Key Points
  • Stocks in Asia mostly rose on Tuesday following record finishes overnight on Wall Street.
  • Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba also popped on their debut, becoming the world's largest listing so far in 2019.

Stocks in Asia mostly rose on Tuesday following record finishes overnight on Wall Street. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba also popped on their debut, becoming the world's largest listing so far in 2019.

Hong Kong-listed shares of shares of Alibaba surged about 6.6% on the day, ahead of the broader market as the Hang Seng index dipped 0.2% to close at 26,939.21.

Mainland Chinese shares mostly saw gains on the day, with the Shenzhen component up 0.53% to 9,677.23 and the Shenzhen composite 0.324% higher at about 1,605.64. The Shanghai composite was largely unchanged at around 2,907.06.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.35% to close at 23,373.32 while the Topix index gained 0.16% to end its trading day at 1,705.71. South Korea's Kospi shed earlier gains as it dipped 0.1% on the day to 2,121.35.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia gained as the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.83% to close at 6,787.50. Shares of Westpac jumped 1.72% after the firm announced the resignation of its CEO and early retirement of its chairman. Shares of the lender have seen strong movements in recent days as the company is rocked by a money-laundering scandal.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was largely flat.

On the U.S.-China trade front, leading negotiators from Washington and Beijing held another phone call on Tuesday morning to discuss "core issues," China's Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement.

Liu He, China's top negotiator on trade, spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the statement said.

Markets have been watching for developments and details surrounding an anticipated "phase one" trade deal that has so far remained elusive ahead of Dec. 15, when additional tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. are set to go into effect.

"I think we need a phase one deal very soon because Dec. 15 probably will be the deadline for doing so," Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Tuesday. "I think that this one is very needed because the market actually is very (optimistic) ... on getting a phase one deal soon."

In the U.S. overnight, the S&P 500 added 0.8% to close at 3,133.64 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.3% to end the trading day at 8,632.49. Both indexes also notched intraday records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw a record close, gaining 190.85 points to 28,066.47.

Monday's gains on Wall Street came after the market's rally paused last week, with the S&P 500 snapping a six-week winning streak. The Dow fell for the first week in five while the Nasdaq ended a seven-week run.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.308 after touching an earlier low of 98.276.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.92 per dollar after touching an earlier low of 109.19. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6776 after slipping from highs above $0.679 in the previous session.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures largely flat at $63.66 per barrel. U.S. crude futures, on the other hand, shed 0.1% to $57.95 per barrel.

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