Asian Shares Edge Lower Ahead Of Central Bank Meetings

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Tuesday as investors awaited a slew of central bank meetings scheduled for the week.

The U.S. Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day monetary policy meeting later in the day, while the Bank of England announces its interest-rate decision on Thursday.

In Asia, central banks in Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand all have monetary policy meetings this week.

Chinese shares fell on profit taking after recent string of gains on hopes for continued government support to boost growth.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 5.44 points or 0.18 percent to 3,090.98 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged up 0.19 percent to 29,466.28.

Japanese shares edged lower as the yen firmed up against the dollar ahead of the Fed and BoE meetings this week. The Nikkei average slipped 17.65 points to 21,566.85 while the broader Topix index ended down 3.45 points at 1,610.23.

Exporters Canon, Sony and Panasonic fell between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent as the dollar weakened against the yen for a third straight session. Online fashion retailer Zozo Inc plunged 11.3 percent after a brokerage downgrade.

Rising U.S. yields pushed financials higher, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Dai-ichi Life gaining around 1 percent. Japan Display Inc jumped 7.3 percent after Singapore-based fund Effissimo said it is eager to offer suggestions to management.

Japan’s industrial output fell a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent month-on-month in January, following a 3.7 percent decline estimated earlier, a government report showed.

Australian markets fluctuated before finishing marginally lower as losses in the healthcare sector offset gains among miners.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto climbed around 1.7 percent as iron ore prices rose across the board on supply concerns after Brazilian miner Vale SA announced further production cuts.

New Hope Corp slumped 11.8 percent after the coal miner reported a 4 percent increase in its half-year net profit.

Biopharmaceutical firm CSL dropped 1.6 percent and hearing implant maker Cochlear declined 1.8 percent as the U.S. dollar hovered near a two-week low amid bets for a dovish Fed.

Westpac Banking Corp slid 0.4 percent after the bank decided to sell its personal finance advice business. The other three banks fell between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent.

In economic news, minutes from the RBA’s March 5 meeting noted “significant uncertainties” over the state of the economy.

Separately, a government report showed that house prices in Australia were down 2.4 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2018, missing expectations for a fall of 2.0 percent.

Seoul stocks ended little changed with a negative bias as investors awaited the outcome of Federal Reserve meeting to see if the U.S. central bank would stick to its pledge of a “patient” approach to monetary policy.

New Zealand shares fell from a record high hit on Monday, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 17.85 points or 0.19 percent at 9,497.27.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended modestly higher, with news on the merger and acquisition front and renewed hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal offering support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively to close at their best levels in over five months.

Asian Shares Rise On Trade Deal Hopes

Asian stocks rose on Monday as weak U.S. data released on Friday cemented expectations the Federal Reserve could strike a dovish stance this week.

Investors also remained hopeful for a U.S.-China trade deal after Xinhua news agency reported the U.S. and China have made further “concrete progress” on the text of the trade agreement between the two sides.

Chinese shares hit 6-1/2-month high on expectations there is scope to ease monetary policy to support economic growth this year.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index soared 74.67 points or 2.47 percent to 3,096.42 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.37 percent to 29,409.01.

Japanese shares rose despite weak February export data. The country’s exports fell for a third month in February amid waning external demand, putting pressure on the Bank of Japan to offer more stimulus.

Exports fell an annual 1.2 percent in February due to declines in shipments of semiconductor production equipment and cars, official data showed.

The Nikkei average rose 133.65 points or 0.62 percent to 21,584.50, driven by chip-related stocks. The broader Topix index closed 0.69 percent higher at 1,613.68.

Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Sumco Corp jumped 2-3 percent after tech shares led Nasdaq to its best weekly rise this year on Friday. Index heavyweights Fast Retailing, SoftBank and Fanuc rose between half a percent and 1.6 percent.

Australian markets ended higher as stronger commodity prices amid reports of progress in U.S. China- trade talks boosted mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 15.30 points or 0.25 percent to 6,190.50 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 18.50 points or 0.30 percent at 6,283.60.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto climbed 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group surged as much as 5.4 percent.

Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals ended on a flat note after it exercised an option to enter into a joint venture with steel-maker Posco for manufacturing battery-making materials.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia shed 0.7 percent after it settled a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over research and development claims. The other three big banks ended narrowly mixed.

Construction and mining services group CIMIC Group advanced 1.7 percent on winning a A$1.7 billion ($1.20 billion) mining contract in Botswana.

Bubs Australia soared 4.8 percent on news it will expand its range of children’s snacks by launching eight new organic-labeled snacks.

Seoul stocks ended a choppy session higher as institutions went on a massive buying-spree despite global uncertainties.

The benchmark Kospi inched up 3.38 points or 0.16 percent to 2,179.49. Automakers paced the gainers, with Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis rallying 2-3 percent.

New Zealand shares hit a record high in thin trade. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 41.85 points or 0.44 percent to 9,515.12, led by industrials and consumer stocks.

The services sector in New Zealand continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from BusinessNZ showed with a Performance of Services Index score of 53.8, down from the downwardly revised 56.2 in January.

U.S. stocks fluctuated before finishing higher on Friday, as optimism about U.S.-China trade talks as well as indications of more Chinese economic stimulus offset some disappointing U.S. economic data.

The Dow rose half a percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent and half a percent, respectively to reach their best closing levels in five months.

Asian Shares Retreat As Brexit Worries Mount

Asian stocks fell broadly on Wednesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May lost voting on her second Brexit proposal in a parliamentary showdown.

A “free vote” will take place today on a no-deal Brexit. If that fails, a further vote on Thursday will decide whether to extend the Brexit deadline.

Sentiment was also dented after Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, said that “major issues” must still be resolved for a successful U.S.-China trade deal.

Chinese shares tumbled as investors waited for signs of progress on the trade dispute with the United States.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 33.36 points or 1.09 percent to 3,026.95 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended down 0.39 percent at 28,807.45.

Japanese shares ended sharply lower as the yen strengthened amid continuing global uncertainties and a report showed Japan’s machinery orders fell in January at the fastest pace in four months.

The total value of core machine orders in Japan dropped a seasonally adjusted 5.4 percent in January, missing expectations for a decline of 1.5 percent following the downwardly revised 0.3 percent fall in December.

The Nikkei average fell 213.45 points or 0.99 percent to 21,290.24 after rallying 1.8 percent in the previous session. The broader Topix index closed 0.84 percent lower at 1,592.07.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Dai-ichi Life Holdings and Nomura Holdings lost 1-3 percent after U.S. government debt yields fell on tame inflation data.

Canon, Honda Motors and Panasonic dropped 1-2 percent while tech stocks such as Advantest and Sumco gave up more than 2 percent. Shin-Etsu Chemical climbed 2.1 percent on share buyback news.

Australian markets fell for the fourth session in a row as Brexit-related uncertainty weighed and a slide in Westpac’s consumer confidence reinforced a deteriorating outlook for the domestic economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 13.60 points or 0.22 percent to 6,161.20 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 14.60 points or 0.23 percent at 6,246.

Banks ended on a subdued note even as the government backed away from a pledge to ban trailing commissions for mortgage brokers.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto ended slightly lower while gold miners Evolution, Regis Resources and Newcrest rallied 1-3 percent after gold prices rebounded overnight.

Pharmacy operator Sigma Healthcare plunged 12.3 percent after rejecting a takeover offer from Australian Pharmaceutical Industries.

Shares of Yowie Group soared 21.4 percent after the confectionery maker received a A$20 million takeover bid from investment firm Keybridge Capital.

Seoul stocks fell on uncertainties over U.S.-China trade negotiations and Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.

The benchmark Kospi declined 8.77 points or 0.41 percent to finish at 2,148.41. Large-cap shares paced the decliners, with SK Hynix, Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor falling 1-2 percent.

New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 9.56 points or 0.10 percent at 9,387.69, dragged down by dual-listed banks.

In economic releases, food prices in New Zealand advanced an unadjusted 0.4 percent month on month in February, Statistics New Zealand said – slowing from the 1.0 percent gain in January.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed as Boeing shares continued to fell on safety concerns following another deadly crash involving its most popular plane.

Inflation remained in check last month, helping spur expectations the Fed will continue to refrain from raising interest rates in the near future.

The Dow dropped 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent.