Asian markets trade sideways following Wall Street gains

Asian markets trade sideways following Wall Street gains
PHOTO: AFP

Asian markets traded sideways on Tuesday, after major indexes on Wall Street closed in the green and on headlines out of the UK of a deadly explosion at a concert venue in Manchester.

Nineteen people were reported dead following a blast at the Manchester Arena in northern England where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing, Reuters said.

The UK police are treating the blast as a terrorism incident.

The safe-haven yen climbed after news of the bombing. The dollar was fetching as little as 110.84 yen down from around 111.34 yen earlier.

At 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN, the dollar was fetching 111.13 yen.

The British pound also slipped after the news, fetching as little as $1.2983, off a high of $1.3005 earlier. At 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN, the pound was at $1.2978.

Against the yen, the pound slipped to trade at 144.26 yen.

"Pound/yen fell to a two-session low following reports of the blast, although volatility surrounding the reaction does not yet suggest the downside will be of great magnitude. This may change if the story evolves, but at the time of writing, pound/yen is trading well within its typical range compared with its three-month average," ThinkMarkets Senior Market Analyst Matt Simpson told CNBC.

The Nikkei 225 dipped 0.16 per cent in Tuesday trade while the ASX 200 declined 0.05 per cent. South Korea's benchmark Kospi index was up by 0.14 per cent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.12 per cent. Mainland China markets opened lower, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.27 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite lower by 0.327 per cent.

HNA Group is negotiating a stake in Hong Kong-listed Value Partners Group, an asset management company, according to reports.

Cathay Pacific will cut a total of 800 jobs, the South China Morning Post reported. This is an additional 200 jobs compared to the 600 jobs the airline said it would cut on Monday. Cathay shares were higher by 0.35 per cent.

In Singapore, shares of Noble Group slid 18.8 per cent after S&P Global Ratings downgraded the commodity trader's credit rating to 'CCC+.' Reuters also reported that Sinochem had decided to stop pursuing a stake in the company due to Noble's shaky outlook.

In other currency news, the dollar weakened further against a basket of currencies to trade at a six-month low. The dollar index last traded at 96.946, off the 97 handle seen in the last session.

Meanwhile, the common currency hit a six-month high in the previous session following comments from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about euro weakness. The euro traded at $1.242 at 9:23 a.m. HK/SIN.

Oil prices were mostly steady after rising to a one-month high in the last session on hopes that OPEC-led output cuts could be further deepened. Benchmark Brent crude shed 0.11 per cent to trade at $53.81 a barrel and US crude was off 0.06 per cent to trade at $51.10.

In economic news, Singapore CPI data for the month of April is due at 1:00 pm HK/SIN. Hong Kong April CPI is due later in afternoon.

Stateside, equities gained across the board in the last session as tech and defence stocks made substantial gains.

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