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Market Update

Asia Bounces Back; Shanghai Slips

Most Asian markets recovered from early losses Tuesday to finish in the positive terrain.

Stocks opened lower taking cues from Wall Street, which posted sharp losses overnight as political tensions in Ukraine and Russia escalated.

On Monday, Ukraine accused the Kremlin of taking border positions and increasing the size of its forces in Crimea. Global markets fell as the situation continued to hurt investor sentiment. Stocks in the U.S. and in Europe dropped while Russia’s Micex index was among the worst hit, down 11%. The ruble touched a record low against the dollar.

On Monday, Ukraine accused the Kremlin of taking border positions and increasing the size of its forces in Crimea. Global markets fell as the situation continued to hurt investor sentiment. Stocks in the U.S. and in Europe dropped while Russia’s Micex index was among the worst hit, down 11%. The ruble touched a record low against the dollar.

Investor sentiment, however, improved during the course of trading and by close, thNikkei was up 0.5% and the Hang Seng gained 0.7%.

   

The Sensex rallied 1.3% while the All Ordinaries moved ahead 0.3%.

The Shanghai Composite, however, lagged behind -- slipping 0.2%.

Earlier Tuesday, Australia's central bank held its cash rate steady at a record low 2.5% as expected. In a statement the apex bank said "the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates."

In economic data, Australia's current account deficit narrowed to a seasonally adjusted A$10.14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 from the third quarter.

Another report showed home-building permits rose 8.3% in January from the previous month while approvals to build or renovate houses and apartments rose 6.8%.

The yen weakened against the dollar after data in Japan showed total average wages in January slipped 0.2%.

Elsewhere in the region, data showed consumer prices in South Korea rose at a slower pace in February than the previous month. The consumer price index rose 1% on year after a 1.1% gain in January.

Stocks on the Move

Sony was down 0.8% while Panasonic gained 2.3%.

Auto shares fell with Nissan Motor down a percent despite reporting better-than-expected North American sales. However, Honda and Toyota both posted losses in their sales. Honda was down 0.7% while Toyota reversed losses and traded up 0.7%.

Tea manufacturer Ito En fell over 5% after reporting a lower third-quarter net profit.

In Hong Kong, in a filing to the Hong Kong exchange, China Galaxy Securities said it is planning to offer up to 1.69 billion A shares in an initial public offering ahead of a listing in Shanghai. The brokerage said the capital will strengthen its capital base and supplement working capital. Its shares edged up 0.8%.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. climbed 1.9% after its chairman said the company would announce more details about the restructuring of its retail unit during the legislative session.

PetroChina also gained, rising 2%, but CNOOC was up 0.5%.

Tencent Holdings was up 1.7% following news reports the internet major is planning to buy a stake in online video company Youku Tudou.

Forgame Holdings rose nearly 7% after the internet-game developer purchased a stake for $70 million in peer group company Magic Feature.

The top gainers in Mumbai were Hindalco, up 7.8%, followed by SSLT, up 4.9%, and ICICI Bank, up 3.8%. Axis Bank, Gail India, BHEL, Tata Power, NTPC and Hindustan Unilever added in the range of 2% to 3%.

In Australia, the country’s competition regulator rejected AGL Energy's proposed A$1.5 billion purchase of power assets from the government of New South Wales state. AGL shares were down 2.5%.