US midterms, US-China trade war, currencies in focus


Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday afternoon as investors looked to the U.S. midterm elections set for later in the day.

The Greater China markets were in negative territory by the end of the morning session, with the Shanghai composite dropping 1.05 percent and the Shenzhen composite falling 1.611 percent. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped by 0.15 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose by 1 percent in afternoon trade and the Topix index saw gains of 1.16 percent.

Shares of conglomerate Softbank fell into negative territory after having earlier seen gains, trading around 2.65 percent lower in the afternoon despite earlier reporting a profit surge for the second quarter of 2018 helped by higher valuations on high-tech bets. The conglomerate’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, said on Monday that “there may be some impact” on its Saudi-backed Vision Fund following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Japanese tech investment giant has poured billions into start-ups in Silicon Valley and around the world through this investment fund.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was 0.92 percent higher in afternoon trade, with most sectors seeing gains. The energy and materials sectors were up 1.47 and 1.67 percent, respectively, as the heavily weighted financial subindex advanced 0.84 percent.

The moves Down Under came after the Reserve Bank of Australia announced its decision to keep the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 percent.

“The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. Further progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target is expected, although this progress is likely to be gradual,” the central bank’s governor, Philip Lowe, said in a media release.

The move was widely anticipated by market observers, with Rakuten Securities Australia saying in a morning note that “local investors looking to make money today will probably be (focusing) more on the Melbourne Cup which takes place 30 mins after the announcement.”

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi saw a gain of 0.17 percent in afternoon trade.


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