BANGKOK – Asian stock markets steadied Tuesday after a sharp sell-off the day before.
There was a dearth of corporate or economic news for traders to digest and an insipid performance on Wall Street gave little direction either.
Most indexes were modestly higher after declining Monday on weak Chinese trade figures that reignited fears of a deeper slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average was up 0.5 per cent at 15,198.21 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 per cent to 22,305.20. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.3 per cent to 2,005.31. Markets were also higher in South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia.
“For the first time in some time traders are choosing to focus much more intently on their local economies,” said IG’s chief market strategist Chris Weston in a report.
“Asia is focusing predominantly on Asian issues, while Europe keeps a closer watch on developments in the Ukraine, and the U.S. on the narrative from various Fed members.”
On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged down 0.87 of a point to close at 1,877.17. It had been down 11 points earlier.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 34.04 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 16,418.68. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.77 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 4,334.45.
The three major U.S. indexes are still up for the month, and only the Dow is down for the year.
Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was up 6 cents at $101.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.46 to close at $101.12 a barrel Monday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3868 from $1.3879 late Monday. The dollar fell to 102.23 yen from 103.26 yen.