The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Tuesday as investors awaited clarity on future monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve following the release of the minutes from its June meeting on Wednesday. In other news, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced Tuesday its decision to keep the cash rate target at 0.1%.
Tuesday’s Cash Market Performance
In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28643.21, up 45.02 or +0.16%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28072.86, down 70.64 or -0.25% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3305.21, up 12.00 or +0.36%.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3530.26, down 4.06 or -0.11% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7261.80, down 53.20 or -0.73%.
China Stocks End Lower as Healthcare, Tech Firms Tumble
China stocks ended lower on Tuesday, with healthcare and tech firms leading the losses, as local investors remained wary of lofty valuations of certain sectors.
The Shenzhen’s start-up board declined 1.8%, while Shanghai’s tech-focused index lost 2.7%. Leading the declines among sectors, the CSI300 healthcare index tumbled as much as 6% before ending 3.8% lower.
Chinese tech firms slumped amid concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on ride-hailing giant Didi Global and scrutiny of other platform companies in the country.
Tech Stocks Drag Australia Shares Lower, Despite Energy Boost
Australian shares closed lower on Tuesday weighed down by tech stocks and as the country’s central bank in a policy meeting decided to pare its bond buying program.
The Reserve Bank of Australia in its July policy meeting on Tuesday held the cash rate at 0.1%, as widely expected, and highlighted ongoing virus outbreaks as a key near-term uncertainty. The big four banks were down between 0.2% and 0.6%, while the financial sub-index fell 0.42%. However, the jump in oil prices boosted Australia’s energy sub-index which rallied to 1.6%, after hitting a near 3-week high during Tuesday’s session.
Nikkei Gains as SoftBank, Uniqlo Owner Rebound
Japan’s Nikkei ended modestly higher on Tuesday as shares of SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing rebounded, although worries over a potential spike in coronavirus infections during the Olympics limited gains. The Nikkei had slid more than 0.6% in the previous session after a rise in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Japan’s government is likely to decide on Thursday to extend a state of quasi-emergency in Tokyo and three nearby prefectures beyond an original an original end-date of July 11.
South Korean Stocks Hit Record Closing High on Tech Boost Ahead of Samsung Electronics Earnings
South Korean Shares posted a record closing high on Tuesday, led by technology stocks ahead of the preliminary earnings from Samsung Electronics, with investors awaiting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.
Samsung Electronics is expected to see a 38% surge in profit for the April-June quarter, thanks to strong chip prices and demand spurred by a pandemic-led consumer appetite for electronics as well as recovering investment in data centers.