Asian markets were mixed following another heavy sell-off on Wall Street, with technology stocks taking a beating, while a stronger yen added to downward pressure on Japan’s Nikkei.
Eyes are also on a news conference by the head of the Bank of Japan after its latest policy meeting, its first since a controversial tax rise took effect at the start of the month.
Tokyo on Tuesday sank 1.36 per cent, or 201.97 points, to 14,606.88 and Sydney was down 0.06 per cent, or 3.1 points, at 5,410.6, while Seoul added 0.17 per cent, or 3.33 points, to close at 1,993.03.
Hong Kong added 0.98 per cent, or 219.82 points, to 22,596.97 while Shanghai surged 1.92 per cent, or 39.45 points, to 2,098.28 on hopes Beijing will soon unveil measures to kick-start China’s economy after last week’s mini-stimulus.
All three main indexes in New York suffered a third straight session of losses on Monday as big-name tech firms, which had helped last year’s rally, suffered sell-offs on concerns they are overvalued. Among the US losers on Monday were Apple, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in the US, said there was also “a little anxiety before earnings” season kicks off this week.
On Wall Street, the Dow sank 1.02 per cent, the S&P 500 slipped 1.08 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 1.16 per cent.
Asian tech stocks followed their US peers lower, with Sony off 1.36 per cent and Sharp losing 3.68 per cent in Tokyo.
In Seoul, Samsung was off 0.21 per cent, with added downward pressure coming from its forecast of a decline in operating profit for the second straight quarter year-on-year.
The yen edged up against the US dollar as traders looked for safer bets, while it was given an extra boost by data showing Japan had posted its first current account surplus in five months in February.
The US dollar was at Y102.67 in the afternoon in Tokyo, against Y103.09 late in New York.
The euro bought Y141.21 and $US1.3752, compared with Y141.65 and $US1.3740.
There was little movement after the Bank of Japan said it would hold off announcing any fresh monetary easing measures, as expected.
Investors are awaiting comments by governor Haruhiko Kuroda at a news conference later in the day to see what he has to say about the economy after the 8.0 per cent sales tax came into force on April 1.
On oil markets New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose 92 US cents to $US101.36 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for May gained 56 US cents to $US106.38.
Gold fetched $US1,309.64 an ounce at (1807 AEST), up from $US1,300.91 late on Monday.
In other markets:
– Taipei rose 0.13 per cent, or 11.81 points, to 8,888.25.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co gained 1.28 per cent to $Tw119.0 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.12 per cent higher at $Tw86.4.
– Wellington fell 0.87 per cent, or 44.28 points, to 5,031.56.
Telecom was off 0.20 per cent at $NZ2.52 and Contact Energy fell 0.76 per cent to $N5.24.
– Manila fell 0.41 per cent, or 34.50 points, to close at 6,579.90.
Conglomerate Ayala Corp dropped 0.33 per cent to 604 pesos and its property arm Ayala Land shed 1.28 per cent to 30.90 pesos.
– Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.