Slight gains seen during the U.S. session failed to lift Asian markets on Tuesday, with stock indexes in the region hovering around the flat line in early trade.
The Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.04 percent and the Topix advanced 0.17 percent. Insurers and banking stocks led the move higher in early morning trade, with Mitsubishi UFJ Group up 1.05 percent ahead of earnings due later. Steelmakers also advanced.
Over in Seoul, the benchmark Kospi was off by 0.03 percent. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics was flat in the morning while chipmaker SK Hynix edged up by 0.12 percent.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 drifted lower by 0.07 percent, with the 0.4 percent dip in the heavily weighted financials subindex weighing on the index.
MSCI’s broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan was lower by 0.15 percent in Asia morning trade.
The lack of conviction seen in major Asian markets followed a positive session on Wall Street, with U.S. stocks finishing slightly higher as investors focused on U.S.-China trade ties ahead of a second round of negotiations expected this week.
President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way for Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE “to get back into business, fast.” That pledge comes after the U.S. government imposed a ban on U.S. companies on supplying ZTE with technology after the Chinese firm was found to have illegally shipped equipment to Iran.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday said he hoped good relations between Trump and Xi would help to bring an agreement on trade matters, although he also acknowledged that the gap between the countries “remains wide.”
Sideways trade in the region also followed the broad mover higher seen in the last session, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index leading the advance. The benchmark closed up 1.35 percent on Monday.
Meanwhile, oil prices drifted higher, adding to gains seen in the last session as OPEC raised its global oil demand estimate for the year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures added 0.16 percent to $71.07 per barrel and Brent crude futures advanced 0.19 percent to trade at $78.38.
On the corporate front, earnings are expected from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group. Also on the calendar for Tuesday are annual general meetings held by Sinopec and Li & Fung.
The economic calendar for Tuesday is fairly top-heavy, with a raft of China data expected in the morning (all times in HK/SIN):
- 8:30 a.m.: Reserve Bank of Australia meeting minutes
- 10:00 a.m.: China industrial production
- 10:00 a.m.: China fixed asset investment
- 10:00 a.m.: China retail sales
- 12:00 p.m.: Indonesia trade data