Asian Shares Mixed As Investors Brace For Earnings

Asian stocks once again ended mixed on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on select European goods in response to the claimed European Union subsidies for Airbus.

Ongoing Brexit uncertainty and skepticism that any deal can permanently resolve U.S.-China trade tensions also kept investors nervous heading into the U.S. earnings season.

Chinese shares fell on profit taking as investors awaited more clarity in trade negotiations with Washington. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 5.15 points or 0.2 percent to 3,239.66, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 80.34 points or 0.3 percent to 30,157.49.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session higher as investors braced for a slew of earnings announcements. The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 40.94 points or 0.19 percent to 21,802.59, while the broader Topix closed marginally lower at 1,618.76.

Sony shares soared 9.3 percent after reports that Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point LLC is building a stake in the company to push for changes.

Yaskawa Electric advanced 1.8 percent ahead of its earnings on Thursday. Tokyo Electron, TDK Corp and Advantest rallied 1-4 percent.

Australian markets ended little changed amid losses in the banking sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index crept up 0.40 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 6,221.80.

The big four banks dropped between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto eked out modest gains, while gold miner Newcrest added 1 percent.

Rio Tinto said that it has approved the next stage in the development of Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa through the construction of the Zulti South project.

Energy stocks paced the gainers, with Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum rising 2-3 percent after oil prices jumped about 2 percent overnight to hit five-month highs on expectations that supply would tighten due to fighting in Libya, OPEC-led cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

Healthcare stocks also advanced, with CSL and Cochlear gaining half a percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Seoul stocks ended slightly higher as foreign investors bought shares on hopes for progress in the U.S.-China trade negotiations and a possible compromise on Brexit.

The benchmark Kospi inched up 2.96 points or 0.1 percent to 2,213.56, led by healthcare companies such as Celltrion and Samsung BioLogics.

New Zealand shares ended slightly lower, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index falling 19.78 points or 0.2 percent to 9,787.30, dragged down by retirement village operators such as Summerset Group Holdings.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors looked forward to major economic data and key earnings releases this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent.

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